Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was surprised to be fired before the end of the 2018 season.
McCarthy addressed the situation in his first sit-down interview since the Packers fired him Dec. 2
"If we missed the playoffs, I expected change might happen," McCarthy told ESPN in the conversation four months after his dismissal. "But the timing surprised me. Actually it stunned me. But time provides the opportunity for reflection and clarity, and that's where I'm at now. And it's clear to me now that both sides needed a change."
McCarthy was fired immediately after his team's 20-17 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He was in his 13th season with the Packers, which included a Super Bowl victory in 2011.
"It couldn't have been handled any worse. Anytime you lose a close game, it's a difficult time emotionally afterward, but when you lose a home game at Lambeau Field in December, it's really hard," McCarthy said of the loss, which moved the Packers to 4-7-1 on the season. "And that hasn't happened very often. I walked out of my press conference, and I'm thinking about the game, thinking about how our playoff shot was now minimal. That's where my head was at. And when I was told (team president) Mark Murphy wanted to see me -- and the messenger was cold and the energy was bad. Mark said it was an ugly loss, and it was time to make change. He said something about the offense and the special teams, and he didn't think it was going to get any better. There was no emotion to it. That was hard."
McCarthy, 55, said he has spent the past four months "shifting from humiliation to reflection" but was buoyed by the support he received.
"When we won the Super Bowl, I received over 200 texts. That week, I had over 500. I got more than twice as many messages for getting fired than I did when I won the damn Super Bowl. It's remarkable," he said.
McCarthy's record with the Packers was 125-77.