As expected, Packers sign McCarthy to 5-year contractMILWAUKEE — Packers coach Mike McCarthy pretended he could care less about the Super Bowl that was in progress as he flew from Dallas to Honolulu.
By: By COLIN FLY/AP Sports Writer, The Daily Telegram
MILWAUKEE — Packers coach Mike McCarthy pretended he could care less about the Super Bowl that was in progress as he flew from Dallas to Honolulu.
Why should he? He already had plenty to look forward to after signing a new five-year contract two days before the Super Bowl and spending Sunday flying west to coach in the Pro Bowl.
‘‘One of the stewardesses came around and she had the halftime score, you were like ’Wow, must be a heck of a game’ (but) trying to act like you don’t care,’’ McCarthy said Tuesday in a conference call from Hawaii.
‘‘Then she brings the third quarter score, and you’re trying to act like you really don’t care. Then about 10 minutes later, you’re like, ’Where the (heck) is she at? And what’s the score of that game?’’’
McCarthy found out soon enough, but won’t watch the game film until he returns to Green Bay, where in two years he took a 4-12 team to the NFC championship game.
McCarthy, who signed the deal without using an agent, said the paperwork on his new contract was completed Monday before being announced Tuesday.
‘‘I think it’s great to have five years to continue to reach our goal,’’ McCarthy said.
McCarthy, who had a year left on his original three-year deal, will reportedly make about $4 million per season in the contract that now runs through the 2012 season.
‘‘Mike brings tremendous passion, work ethic and structure to his position,’’ said general manager Ted Thompson, who signed a new five-year contract himself last month. ‘‘These are the traits we saw in him when he was hired, and we’re very happy for the success we have had under his guidance.’’
McCarthy had an option for a four-year deal for his first contract, but chose a smaller package, taking a risk that he wouldn’t work out. Instead, it was better than expected.
‘‘I had the option,’’ McCarthy said. ‘‘I thought it was important to establish our football program, establish myself as a head coach and I was thankful for the opportunity from the Green Bay Packers organization and it’s worked out, but the three-year deal was a chance.’’
McCarthy, the franchise’s 14th head coach, tied a Packers’ franchise record with 13 regular-season victories on the way to an NFC North Division championship and bye in the first round of the playoffs despite having the NFL’s youngest team.
After beating Seattle in the NFC divisional playoff round, the Packers lost 23-20 in overtime in the NFC championship game to the eventual Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants.
‘‘It’s only natural to say, ’My goodness, that should have been us,’’’ McCarthy said. ‘‘They’re a perfect example of playing their best football when it counts.’’
Both sides had hoped to get the contract done before the Super Bowl, and there was a report before the Giants game that it had been completed. But negotiations slowed because Thompson was on the road scouting, while McCarthy was preparing his team in the playoffs.
‘‘The priority was for it not to be a distraction,’’ McCarthy said. ‘‘We just took the time when it was appropriate. The priority was the football team and our playoff run. A lot of work was done this last week.’’
The 44-year-old McCarthy, a Pittsburgh native, has won 18 of his last 22 games after getting off to a 4-8 start in his first season as head coach in 2006. He said he likes the way the organization is set up and didn’t seek additional power regarding player personnel moves.
‘‘That’s something I did not desire at this point. I think structure, lines of responsibilities, organization charts are very important to any successful operation,’’ McCarthy said. ‘‘I think the fit between Ted Thompson and myself and the way we’re structured with our personnel department and coaching staff, the way they work hand-in-hand, I think it’s an extremely healthy situation.’’
McCarthy also said he’d check in with Brett Favre this week. In an annual rite of winter in Wisconsin, Favre and McCarthy plan to talk about every seven to 10 days until the three-time MVP makes a decision whether he will return for an 18th season or retire.
‘‘He’s going to take a couple weeks to think about it,’’ McCarthy said.
‘‘As I’ve stated before, it’s more of a personal issue as far as if you’re going to come back as opposed to professional. I think he clearly shows ... that he still has a lot of football left in his tank.’’