Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that the speculation about his job status is nothing more than a media-driven narrative.
That may or may not be true. But the chatter became loud enough for team owner Jerry Jones to address it during the opening statement of his annual press conference to open training camp on Tuesday.
“One of the issues I want to address directly because I guess it’s the one that probably have the most sensitivity about, and that is Mike and him coaching,” Jones said. “And I want to be real clear — he wouldn’t be sitting here today if I didn’t think he was the man to lead this team to a Super Bowl. He would not be. And I have choices.
“So that’s not meant to be insensitive to anybody, that’s a fact. And so you guys write about a lot of those choices and they were there for my use had I wanted them. And no, the guy to my right is who I’m convicted about. Have been. We certainly have had things we’ve addressed and the way we’ve addressed them in the offseason, I think we have successfully put together a staff that really, from this vantage point, gives us absolutely the best chance — with our makeup and our team — to get to the ultimate success. So I want to be real clear about that.”
Jones was later asked if he has that kind of confidence, then has McCarthy been rewarded with a contract extension? Jones said that hasn’t happened, but McCarthy still has “multiple years” left on his deal with Dallas.
McCarthy himself said that Jones’ full-throated endorsement lines up with what the longtime owner has said privately. But McCarthy would prefer to focus on football at this point.
“If I’m going to demand it from the coaches and the players and support staff to keep the focus tight and just keep focused on things that have to do with winning, then obviously I have to do that myself,” McCarthy said.
The problem is, the speculation about McCarthy and the Cowboys job is unlikely to go away — particularly with Sean Payton out there as a candidate to take over. As noted in Playmakers, Payton was close to becoming Dallas’ head coach just a few years ago.
If the Cowboys get off to a disappointing start, the chatter about McCarthy’s status is only going to grow louder as the season continues.