The inevitable finally happened on Sunday as the Green Bay Packers sacked head coach Mike McCarthy following their 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, who came into the game with a dismal 3-9 record.
McCarthy was the bookies’ favorite to get the sack in the week leading up to the game against the Cardinals – and the loss was the final straw as it also brought a likely end to the Packers’ hopes of making the post-season.
The Packers have turned to Joe Philbin – the team’s offensive coordinator – to take over as the interim head coach. But who is the 57-year-old, who is in his second spell with the team? And the one, who called the head coaching job a “lonely one.”
Philbin got his first taste of the big leagues when he joined the Packers as an assistant offensive line coach in 2003. He gradually rose through the ranks and played a key role in their successes over the last decade.
The Washington & Jefferson graduate spent four years, from 2007-2011, as the offensive coordinator with the Packers before leaving the team for his first head coaching job with the Miami Dolphins. He spent almost three seasons in Florida before being let go in 2015.
Philbin then reverted back to his role as an offensive line coach by joining the Indianapolis Colts for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, where he was also the assistant head coach. After two seasons with the Colts, he made his way back to the Packers in his former position – offensive coordinator – in January 2018.
“Making Mike McCarthy look like the smartest play-caller in the National Football League. Honest to God, I think that’s part of your job when you’re an assistant coach, when you’re a coordinator, when you’re an assistant offensive line coach,” Philbin said, when asked what his job was in his second stint with the team, as quoted on 247 Sports.
Philbin will now get a second chance at the top job after the Packers relieved McCarthy of his duties with immediate effect. The team’s president and CEO Mark Murphy admitted that the season had not met the expectations and standards of the Packers.
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately,” Murphy said in a statement.
Philbin’s record as a head coach has more losses than wins, with a 24-28 record, while also not being able to make the post-season during his stint with the Dolphins. In the week leading up to the game against the Cardinals, the offensive coordinator was asked about his desire to become a head coach again.
“Not to be evasive, (but) right now I’m focused on doing as good a job right here and right now as I possibly can,” Philbin said when asked about becoming a head coach again.
“But with that said, it’s a difficult job, it can be a lonely job. It’s a tough job but it’s a great job, and if you love football and you love coaching, in my opinion they’re all great jobs,” he added. “So, again, my focus is, let’s see if we can get a win against the Arizona Cardinals. I mean, we’ve gone five weeks, it’s been a tough stretch. Guys have battled, but we just haven’t played well enough offensively. We haven’t scored enough points. We have to do better. That’s really all I’m thinking about right now.”