FRISCO, Texas — The fashion in which the 2023 season pushed the Dallas Cowboys into a week-long speculation regarding the status of head coach and offensive play-caller Mike McCarthy, but it's now been put to bed by the team's decision to keep him onboard for the 2024 season — the final of his five-year deal.
In his end-of-season press conference, McCarthy addressed the speculation that ultimately did include a three-hour long sitdown with owner and general manager Jerry Jones, once the exit interviews were completed with players.
In his address was a message for Cowboys' fans.
"We have an unbelievable fanbase, and they should be frustrated," he said. "We're extremely disappointed, for them and for the performance. But my message is this: we've established a championship program, it's just not the world championship, yet. We know how to win, we know how to train to win and we have the right people.
"We just have to cross the threshold in playoff games. It's extremely disappointing, but I know how to win, and we will get over that threshold. And that's why I'm standing here today."
There are counterbalances on the scale now, though.
McCarthy owns the highest regular season winning percentage of any head coach in franchise history — 36 wins in the last three seasons alone — along with his first year returned to play-calling duties having created a No. 1 offense and historic numbers from CeeDee Lamb.
That said,the shellacking by the Green Bay Packers on Super Wild Card Weekend that made the Cowboys look as if they didn't belong in the playoffs in the first place.
After having taken a step forward in 2021 and 2022, the team took a huge step backward in their postseason goals in 2023, and Jones weighed it all before making a decision. For his part, while McCarthy agrees it's raining at the moment, he doesn't believe the sky is falling.
"I am very confident in the direction," he said. "I like who we are moving forward. … We're just getting started. [But] we've got work to do.
"The job's not finished. We [all] know that."