Another early postseason exit by the Packers in 2013 has left many fans feeling a sense of complacency within the organization, as they watch NFC rivals repeatedly reach the NFC title game and Super Bowl while the green and gold sit at home. It is certainly true that injuries and other bad breaks throughout the season presented hurdles for the 2013 Packers; but the team ultimately had their chance to make a 2010-esque postseason run in January. While the three seasons following Green Bay’s 2010 Super Bowl run can certainly bring about some disappointment, one must appreciate what the franchise has done since Mike McCarthy took over as head coach in 2006.
The past eight seasons have seen many shifts in power within the NFC North but it has only been Mike McCarthy’s Packers that have remained consistently competitive throughout that time frame. McCarthy, who has four NFC North titles to his name and is yet to turn in a sub-.500 divisional record, has been nothing short of dominant against division rivals. Green Bay’s 3-2-1 division record in 2013 ranks at the very bottom of an impressive array of divisional records since 2006, which includes three seasons with five or more NFC North wins (2006, 2011, 2012).
The Packers’ 73% winning percentage in divisional games and 64% winning percentage in all regular season games is a good reason why the organization has retained McCarthy as head coach over the eight years – while the Bears, Vikings and Lions have each cycled through two head coaches (with a third added in Minnesota and Detroit this offseason). The Packers have also undergone minimal change in assistant coaching staffs, moving to a 3-4 base defense after the firing of Bob Sanders in 2009 and allowing offensive coordinator Joe Philbin to fill the Dolphins’ head coaching vacancy in 2012.
Though fans would always prefer to see the storied dominance of a Jimmy Johnson or Bill Belechick, McCarthy’s six playoff appearances and one Super Bowl ring rank amongst the best for active coaches in the NFL. At the minimum, McCarthy has kept the Packers highly competitive in the NFC, getting his team to the playoffs in each of the past five seasons. However, McCarthy has struggled in postseason meetings with the Giants and 49ers, which have devalued his solid 6-5 playoff record.
Simply making the playoffs has never been good enough for one of the league’s most loyal fan bases; it is expected that McCarthy will add more tallies in the Super Bowl appearance and wins rows above in the coming seasons. But in the interim, Packers fans can enjoy the fact that McCarthy continues to beat up on the rest of the NFC North, even when missing key players like Clay Matthews, Jermichael Finley and Bryan Bulaga.