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McCarthy gives stability to Packers

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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (left) talks to coach Mike McCarthy on Friday, July 26, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
By USA Today
Sunday, March 30, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Mike McCarthy has served as Green Bay Packers coach for eight seasons, and if it's up to him, he will continue in that role for many more years.

“Working in Green Bay, there's nothing like getting up every day and going to Lambeau Field,” said McCarthy, a Greenfield native. “I love the people I work with. I love where I work, and more importantly, I love what I do. I feel like I'm at halftime, frankly, hopefully.”

McCarthy has compiled an 88-50-1 record, guided the Packers to the playoffs in six of his eight seasons and boasts a Super Bowl championship on his resume.

After he completes his ninth season in 2014, McCarthy will tie Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr for the second-longest head-coaching stints in franchise history. Only team founder Curly Lambeau has coached the Packers longer.

Turnover is rampant in the NFL, with 14 of the league's 32 teams hiring new coaches in the past two years. By comparison, McCarthy is as stable as they come.

As he attended the NFL's annual owners meeting this week at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes resort, McCarthy could look around and find just three head coaches who have been with the same team longer than he has: New England's Bill Belichick, the New York Giants' Tom Coughlin and the Cincinnati Bengals' Marvin Lewis.

Since McCarthy was hired in 2006, the Packers' NFC North rivals have installed a revolving door for coaches, with Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago going through a total of eight.

McCarthy's longevity, like any coach, is related to winning. No other NFC team has qualified for the playoffs the past five years like the Packers have, and McCarthy has experienced just one losing season.

Beyond that, McCarthy has found a way to stay energized and avoid burning out. It's a lot more difficult than it might seem in a results-driven, pressure-packed profession that chews up and spits out coaches at an alarming rate.

McCarthy said he guards against getting stale after being on the job for so long.

“I think you have to be concerned about that even if you're in your first, second or third year, too,” McCarthy said. “You're always trying to keep your messaging not only fresh and creative but real to where you think your team is and how you get your team to move to where you want them to get to. I think that's a big part of coaching. It's a huge part of being a head coach.”

McCarthy has taken on the additional duties over the past eight years of calling offensive plays. The Packers have regularly produced a top-10 offense under McCarthy's guidance, but he admitted for the first time publicly this week that he has thought about giving up play-calling so he can attend to all of his other responsibilities.

“Oh yeah, I think about it,” said McCarthy. “I go through the evaluation period after every season. I go through every responsibility, not only for myself but of the assistant coaches and how we're tailoring responsibility to the players. I mean, that's a huge part of my job — to make sure responsibility is clear, detailed, and everybody is on the same page, starting with myself.”

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