FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Mike McCarthy used to drive by the statues every day when arriving for work at Lambeau Field, so there never was much need to tell him what he was getting into as coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Nearly 10 years after winning a Super Bowl with one iconic franchise in Green Bay, McCarthy is taking over another and knows that’s where the conversation starts with the Cowboys, regardless of their nearly 25-year absence on football’s biggest stage.
“You look at the great coaches that have been here,” McCarthy said during his introductory news conference Wednesday. “The Super Bowl champions. All the Hall of Fame players. You look at the great quarterback play here. There’s a lot of similarities that I feel that I can use in this particular situation.”
Flanked by owner Jerry Jones and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, McCarthy addressed a large crowd of reporters, players and staff members in the atrium of the indoor football stadium that’s also one of the team’s practice fields.
McCarthy won his championship at the home of the Cowboys, with the statue of Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry near the main entrance.
He coached under the shadow of Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi with the Packers, reaching the playoffs nine times in his first 11 seasons before getting fired during what ended up being a second straight losing season.
Now the 56-year-old McCarthy, after a year out of football, is taking over for Jason Garrett, second to Landry in tenure for Cowboys coaches, but without anything remotely approaching Landry’s postseason pedigree.
“I am honored to be the steward of this iconic franchise,” McCarthy said. “I told Jerry this in the interview, that I will take care of that honor and privilege and that responsibility. Because I understand it. And I know what it takes.”
Dallas missed the playoffs at 8-8 with high expectations in a make-or-break season for Garrett, whose contract expires next week. At 9½ seasons, Garrett had the second-longest tenure for a Dallas coach behind Landry (club’s first 29 years).
Green Bay made nine trips to the postseason in 13 years under McCarthy. That’s the only other head coaching job he has held. McCarthy led the Packers to at least 10 wins in eight of his first 11 seasons, including four trips to the NFC championship game.
Dallas hasn’t been that far in the playoffs since the last of the franchise’s five Super Bowl titles to finish the 1995 season. The Cowboys missed the playoffs six times in Garrett’s nine full seasons.
McCarthy went 125-77-2 in the regular season with the Packers and 10-8 in the playoffs. The Cowboys have just three playoff wins since their most recent championship.
The eight-year playoff run for McCarthy and Rodgers was from 2009-16, a stretch that included two divisional-round victories over the Garrett-led Cowboys.