- Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy finally held his long-delayed season-ending press conference Wednesday, a full 10 days after the team's heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game. McCarthy was originally scheduled to meet with the media at this time last week, but he had to postpone the event following the sudden death of his brother.
The coach thanked the fans for all the well wishes and support they have given him and his family over the last week. He then offered them some support of his own regarding the loss in the Championship Game.
"I understand your disappointment," McCarthy told the fans. "We're right there with you." He went on to praise Packer fans even further, crediting them for the team's 9-0 record at Lambeau Field this season. "I think our home-field advantage was second to none. The support has just been incredible, and I think they really took it up a notch this year."
But the optimistic tone didn't last long.
Right out of the gate, the first questioner asked McCarthy if he planned to fire Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum. The question came in the wake of a frustrating season for the Packers' kicking game, in which the team finished near the bottom of the league in many important special teams stats and made two disastrous mistakes in the collapse against Seattle.
"It's important to evaluate," says McCarthy. "I obviously haven't had that opportunity, so we'll look at everything. We'll look at every job description, every job responsibility, performance--mine included--and we'll look to make changes.
"Our special teams errors have been critical--more because of the timing of it--and it showed up, obviously, in the Seattle game," McCarthy said.
But McCarthy was defiant when asked if he feared the possibility of an emotional hangover for the team come next season.
"The 2015 football team will not bear the burden of what happened in 2014 or before that," McCarthy said. "That's not the way we operate. We won't internalize the things that go on outside our building. We're going to create another opportunity to build the best football team we can in 2015 and we're going to go for it."
McCarthy may not think any hangover will last into next year, but he doesn't relish the chance to watch the Super Bowl at home this weekend.
"You have to go watch it somewhere where you can watch the game. I've made the mistake and tried to watch it with family and friends--and that's not fun," McCarthy said with a laugh. "Because, you know, they say things that they shouldn't say to you--and it will probably be a lot harder this time."
The coach also looked forward to the upcoming free agency period and May's college draft, but he closed with some final thoughts on his family's situation that could just as well sum up his feelings about the season.
"Life is precious," McCarthy said, fighting back tears. "I don't have the words or the emotional discipline to take you through it. It was very difficult, and we're pressing on. As a family."