Team president and CEO Mark Murphy said Monday that Mike McCarthy's 13-year tenure as head football coach of the Packers had run its course.
"Evaluating the season, I really felt change was needed and kind of Mike's tenure had run its course. I think we needed a new voice and it happens in our league," he said.
Murphy noted that he would have liked to wait until after the season to make a change, but said the 20-17 loss to a previously two-win team made it clear a change was in order. He repeatedly called Sunday's performance "unacceptable."
"I think we all would have preferred to make the change following the season," he said. "We've been in these situations with Mike before. Obviously you think back to 2016, we were 4-6, all of our efforts were in turning the season around. I really think if we had gotten a key win here or there, things would have changed. The way the season unfolded, we were never able to get that win and quite honestly the performance on Sunday night to me made it very clear that a coaching change was needed."
Murphy compared McCarthy's tenure to that of Andy Reid in Philadelphia. The organization believes McCarthy is still a good coach, but it was time for a new voice in Green Bay.
"I think we all share the responsibility," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, who added the players were surprised by the timing of the firing. "That's the toughest part. Players are the ones who are playing. Obviously, coaches have a responsibility to prepare and teach and demand. But the players are on the field performing. Obviously, our performance level was such that we couldn't keep Mike in his place."
The CEO said making the move now will benefit McCarthy, who can focus on his future, while the Packers get a head start on searching for candidates. Murphy said interim coach Joe Philbin will be considered for a permanent spot, and the final month of the season will allow Green Bay to evaluate how the team responds to his leadership.
The Packers brass said Rodgers was not involved in the decision to fire McCarthy. The team will listen to any input the signal-caller has on head coaching candidates, but Rodgers will not be involved in the hiring process.
"I think there's an interest on who the next guy will be. But Mark and [GM] Brian [Gutekunst] and I have always had good lines of communication," Rodgers said. "I've had conversations with them like I had with [former GM] Ted [Thompson] over the years and I'm not needing to be involved in the [selection] process."
Murphy scuttled the notion that the relationship between McCarthy and Rodgers was a determining factor in the decision to change coaches.
"Aaron and Mike, they had a great run together," Murphy said. "They won an awful lot of games together, including the Super Bowl and the playoffs that we talked about. And this decision, it's not about one player. This is what's best for the Packer team, Packer organization."
Added Gutekunst: "I think there's been a lot written and it's probably been overblown about their relationship. A football team is made up of a lot of individuals and there's tension between coaches and players all the time. I think that, like Mark said, they've had a lot of success here. They're both very high level, quality individuals and I think there's a lot more to it for where we sit right now than that."
With Rodgers at quarterback, coming off a solid draft, and accumulating capital for next season, the Packers believe they will be an appealing landing spot.