Cowboys’ loss to Packers may have Bill Belichick implications


Jerry Jones is 81 years old, and he hasn’t won a Super Bowl in 28 years.

“I’m 80 years old. I want results now,’’ Leon Hess said when he hired Rich Kotite to replace Pete Carroll in 1995.

Hess was 82 years old when he hired Bill Parcells to get him those results, and died four months after Parcells got the Jets to the AFC Championship game in Denver following the 1998 season.

Jones has recycled his fair share of head coaches — including Parcells — since Barry Switzer won Super Bowl XXX with Jimmy Johnson’s players, and now there is a great white shark circling NFL waters, including off Dallas.

“I’m running out of Combines,” Jones said in Indianapolis, and that was five years ago.

When Cowboys host the Packers in Sunday’s wild-card round game, coach Mike McCarthy ought to know Jones well enough by now to know that he’d better not lose to the team he coached to the Super Bowl XLV championship with Aaron Rodgers.

Mike McCarthy finished 12-5 for the third consecutive season. Getty Images

Because Bill Belichick — former Patriots coach Bill Belichick — is the kind of big fish that any owner should want to reel in.

McCarthy has been Cowboys coach for four seasons, and this one brought an NFC East title and a third consecutive 12-5 record. And the pressure inherent in coaching an America’s Team with great expectations and aspirations.

McCarthy better not lose this game.

He has won only one playoff game as Cowboys coach and hasn’t made it to the conference championship game. But now he has Dak Prescott playing at an MVP level that could earn him a $60 million annual salary extension that would eclipse Joe Burrow’s $55M.

Prescott, with his 2-4 playoff record will be under immense pressure of his own to play big in a big game, and get McCarthy and the Cowboys to the divisional round — and beyond, with possible showdowns against the Eagles and 49ers looming.

“This team,” Jones said following a rout of the Commanders on Thanksgiving Day, “is certainly capable of winning the whole thing.”

Prescott’s (36 touchdowns, nine interceptions this season) vow to cut down on his league-leading 15 interceptions in 2022 has guaranteed his future as America’s Team’s franchise quarterback. He has been playing pitch and catch with receiver CeeDee Lamb. McCarthy answered his own critics, who were skeptical about him taking over play-calling duties this season.

All well and good.

McCarthy better not lose this game.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots parted ways, allowing the legendary coach to land with another team. AP

Jones was so certain the Cowboys would beat the Giants in the 2007 divisional round that he gifted players two tickets for friends and family for what would have been a home NFC Championship game.

“How we managed not to get a Super Bowl with Tony Romo as our quarterback will always probably be my greatest disappointment,” Jones said once.

A one-and-done exit at home now as the No. 2 seed? That might challenge his greatest disappointment.

“I have a ton of respect for Jerry and Stephen [Jones, son and team executive], and the way they run the organization down there,” Belichick said before a Week 4, blowout loss to the Cowboys, 38-3. “They’ve had decades of success.”

Jerry Jones could make a coaching change if the Cowboys fall short of the Super Bowl. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

But decades without the ultimate success. Jones didn’t hire McCarthy to reach the playoffs. He hired him to win a Super Bowl. He has a quarterback and a team fully capable of winning one.

Should the Cowboys go out with a humiliating whimper to Jordan Love, McCarthy could pay the ultimate price. If he does, Jones could turn to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is a hot commodity again.

The Chargers, largely because of Justin Herbert, are the current favorites to hire Belichick. Arthur Blank might consider giving Belichick a blank check to resurrect the Falcons. The Commanders, with the second-overall pick in the draft, would be in play. Maybe Belichick wouldn’t want a partnership with Jones, or vice versa.

But if McCarthy is upset in this spot by the Packers, what if?

Belichick might enjoy coaching a team that is built to win. He might enjoy coaching Micah Parsons almost as much as he enjoyed coaching Lawrence Taylor.

What if one of Belichick’s best friends, newest Cowboys Ring of Honor member Jimmy Johnson, convinced him?

Could Belichick and Jones work harmoniously together? Impossible to predict, but Parcells and Jones mostly did for four years.

McCarthy, of course, can make any potential coaching change by Jones moot. It won’t be an issue at game time 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. But … could it be by 7:30? But … what if McCarthy needs another Super Bowl championship as much as Jones does?

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