Now, all of what I’m about to say can be chucked out the window if the Pack lose next week and puke up their playoff chances. But I was listening to part of McCarthy’s press conference today and something seemed to me to be quite a bit different. HE was different. Over time, I have come to know McCarthy by virtue of watching and listening to tons of his press conferences, seeing him be interviewed, reading millions of articles, etc. But something was definitely different about how he answered questions today.
While I realize it’s a heck of a lot easier conducting a press conference after an impressive victory, McCarthy was far less defensive than he usually is and it seemed he wasn’t dreading the whole press conference thing as much as he seems to most of the time. Historically, whenever I’ve listened to the guy, he often starts interactions assuming folks doubt him and doubt his ability to coach. This puts him in somewhat of a defensive posture – sometimes from the first question on. He’s never been one to get nasty with responses or anything, but just a bit defensive – like he needs to justify what he’s done. And he also seems to generally dislike the whole press conference experience – while he’s doing it he just wants it to end. In the press conference today, he seemed very free explaining his take on the game yesterday, his philosophies, his goals etc – like he wasn’t going to limit himself for fear of it opening up the possibility of being second-guessed. Again, it’s easier when you’ve just coached a gem of a game and most questions/answers are positive, but there was a resoluteness, a confidence, a lack of easy cliches and a firmness of tone that I’m not sure I’ve heard from him before. Like he may be starting to trust himself or something.
Like I indicated in my post game post last night, I wonder if McCarthy may be developing that edge that coaches need to have to be good. It’s as though he seems to be realizing that he can’t control what others think so he might as well not worry about it so much anymore. This can be very liberating. (It’s something we see in the counseling world when a person’s self-esteem increases – a fundamentally less debilitating concern about what others think.) In fact, I’m starting to believe that perhaps McCarthy is turning into Peter from Office Space – he is becoming good because he’s not limiting himself and frankly – he’s stopped pressing so much. Wonder if “the Bobs” visited Lambeau recently.
As a final re-face if you will (opposite of preface, a preface made after a statement), I’ll say again that I’m not sold on McCarthy and I’ve had serious concerns about him over time. And I don’t agree with those indicating he should be in the discussion for coach of the year, at least up until this point. But if he can lead us to a big victory next week and then a respectable playoff showing, I’m wondering if he may have just turned a critical corner in his coaching career.