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McCarthy Sparks Rivalry; Makes Good On Prediction


Perhaps Mike McCarthy's guarantee coming into the Cowboys' matchup with Washington and Ron Rivera's ensuing response were much ado about nothing.

But the off-the-field drama leading up to the game was certainly followed by plenty of drama on the field when Sunday finally came around.

Earlier in the week McCarthy, asked about the team's upcoming game, said, "We're going to win this game. I'm confident in that. What am I supposed to say? I fully expect to win every game I compete in."

A day later, Washington coach Ron Rivera seemed to take issue with McCarthy's comments.

"I think that's a big mistake," Rivera said, adding that he believed McCarthy was trying to get into the heads of Washington and accusing the Dallas coach of making the game about him. He apparently also made an emotional speech to the Washington players, citing McCarthy's guarantee.

McCarthy responded by saying, "I was talking about my own team like I always coach my own team."

Neither said anything that was particularly offensive about the other, but after the game, it seemed both veteran coaches may have had known something about how to motivate their teams.

The game looked every bit a division rivalry. The Cowboys, led by their defense, established a 24-0 lead at halftime. But clearly Rivera and his players didn't go into the locker room with the sense that McCarthy's prediction had been validated. A chippy third and fourth quarter that included a La'el Collins ejection for defending what he believed to be a late hit on Dak Prescott ultimately led to a near comeback by Washington that the Cowboys weren't able to seal until the final two minutes.

After the game, Cowboy players seemed to balk at the idea that McCarthy said anything out of the ordinary. CeeDee Lamb claimed the opposite answer would have been more concerning. Dak Prescott expressed similar sentiments earlier in the week. Ezekiel Elliott defended his coach as well.

"Honestly if you don't believe you're going into the game winning then you already lost," Elliott said after the game. "What do you expect him to say?"

Washington linebacker Cole Holcomb, whose pick-six cut the Dallas lead to seven points, said, "We hate them and they hate us," in the locker room after the game.

After the game, McCarthy seemed to express that it was a game that reflected that kind of intensity.

"I think this is a good example of the way division games usually are," McCarhthy said.

The head coach was also satisfied with the way that Collins and other players came to Prescott's defense in the game, suggesting that all sides were playing with intensity and claiming that the near comeback was not a collapse on the Cowboys' end.

"That's your narrative," McCarthy said. "This isn't fantasy football. At the end of the day things happen. It was a great win."

What are the chances that McCarthy and Rivera have any actual disdain for each other? Judging by their mid-field hug immediately after the game, pretty unlikely. But something that makes a rivalry a rivalry is that it's never over.

"We play these guys again in two weeks," McCarthy said, without issuing a guarantee this time.

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