NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The Dallas Cowboys are still reeling after the team’s first-round flop against the visiting San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Wild-Card game on Sunday.
And despite rumblings from fans and pundits within the Cowboy Nation regarding the future of Mike McCarthy after the team once again fell short in their bid for their first Super Bowl since 1996, Hall-of-Fame wide receiver and NFL analyst Michael Irvin does not feel it’s time to throw in the towel on the current head coach just yet.
“Look at what we are in right now,” said the former Cowboy, who joined WGNO Sports on Wednesday over Zoom during a promotional press junket for Valirux progressive lens from Essilor USA. “Everybody gets through all these coaching changes – cycling them in and cycling them out – trying to find that guy.
“Now if you can get me Sean Payton?,” Irvin continued. “I’ll take Kyle Shannahan, Sean Payton, Bill Belichick. If you can get me any one of them, I’ll ship [Coach McCarthy’s] butt right on out of here right fast for one of them. Don’t just do it to do it. I’ll do it to get better.”
In the loss to the Niners, Dak Prescott completed just 53 percent of his passes for a quarterback rating of 69.3, while running back Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 31 yards (2.6 avg.) and wide receiver Ceedee Lamb caught one pass for 21 yards.
During the game, the Cowboys set a franchise playoff record with 14 penalties. However, Irvin said the team’s 23-17 loss can be mainly attributed to the performance – or lack thereof – of its marquee players.
“That’s the No. 1 rule,” Irvin explained. “Your stars gotta show up if you have a chance to advance.”
Not showing up in the postseason has become the new norm in Dallas.
The Cowboys have won just four of 15 playoff games since their Super Bowl XXX win over Pittsburgh in January 1996, and have had seven coaches during that period including the latest, McCarthy. Bill Parcells coached the team from 2003 to 2006.
And his assistant head coach?
None other than Payton, who served on the Cowboys coaching staff for two seasons before taking the helm in New Orleans.
Not only would he like to rewind it back, Irvin said allowing Payton to leave for the Big Easy is a decision Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would most definitely like to do over, too.
“There is no doubt [Jerry Jones] feels that was the one that got away,” said the five-time Pro Bowler. “I feel that was the one that got away. Remember, right when Sean goes, a few months later Bill said he’s leaving. I’m like, ‘Bill, you couldn’t have told us that before we let Sean go?’ You know what I mean? We could have had him here.”
The NFL All-Decade wide-out helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in four years as one-third of ‘The Triplets’ with fellow Hall-of-Famers Troy Aikman (QB) and Emmitt Smith (RB). And the former Miami Hurricane finished his 12-year career with 750 receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns.
And while Irvin still stands solidly behind McCarthy, the man known as ‘The Playmaker’ admits he’d send the Cowboys’ field general (18-15) packing for a chance at the Saints’ all-time winning coach (143-81).
“You know Sean Payton lives here, his family is here,” said Irvin. “We would love to have had Sean Payton. That’s the guy. I love Mike, but I’d drive over there myself and escort him out if we can get Sean Payton.”