Just one head coach in Dallas Cowboys history has lasted only two seasons: Chan Gailey, who went 18-14 from 1998-99. Current head coach Mike McCarthy might tie Gailey's unwanted franchise record if the Cowboys don't make the playoffs in 2021. McCarthy is among the favorites via SportsLine oddsmakers to be the first NFL coach fired/leave his job this season.
Just a reminder that we are including "leave his job" because it's possible someone retires/mutually agrees to leave his position for whatever reason. I'm perhaps looking at you Urban Meyer. We are quite sure that McCarthy isn't going to leave voluntarily considering this is only Year 2 of a five-year, $30 million contract.
While some around the NFL thought there was a possibility that owner/GM Jerry Jones might fire McCarthy after last season's 6-10 disappointment, that was never realistic. First of all, it wasn't McCarthy's fault that quarterback Dak Prescott went down with a season-ending injury in Week 5. Dallas was 2-3 at that point.
Second, it also really wasn't McCarthy's fault that the defense was historically bad, and perhaps that has been resolved by replacing coordinator Mike Nolan with former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn this offseason. Dallas did play pretty well down the stretch in 2020, too, finishing on a 3-1 kick with Andy Dalton under center.
While Jones has gotten more patient over the years, he is known to have a bit of a man crush on Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley. So, if the Cowboys were to struggle again with a star-studded offense led by a healthy Prescott and a fortified defense (linebacker Micah Parsons is the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite), McCarthy may be shown the door. Other than Gailey, the only Cowboys coach to last fewer than four seasons was Dave Campo, and his first two teams went 5-11. Still not sure how that guy got a third year.
The Cowboys do have the second-easiest strength of schedule this year by opponents' combined 2020 winning percentage, but a lot of that is playing six games inside the terrible NFC East. It may only take eight wins in the new 17-game season to win the East after Washington did at 7-9 a year ago. Dallas is a +135 favorite to win it and has an Over/Under win total of 9.0, with the Over a -130 favorite. Nine wins would likely be enough for McCarthy to survive, and surely anything above that would be.
There is a decent chance that Dallas starts 0-2, though, with trips to Tampa Bay and the LA Chargers before returning home for winnable games vs. Philadelphia and Carolina. Start 0-4, and all bets are off.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will be first NFL coach fired/leave job this season?
- Vic Fangio +600
- Zac Taylor +700
- Matt Nagy +700
- Mike Zimmer +800
- Mike McCarthy +900
- Kliff Kingsbury +1000
- Jon Gruden +1200
- David Culley +1400
- Urban Meyer +1700
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