As many of you are probably aware, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is actually a local guy. Born in Pittsburgh in the early 60s as the son of a Pittsburgh cop, and even serving as a graduate assistant and briefly the wide receivers coach for the Pittsburgh Panthers college football program, his credentials really don’t need to be questioned. He grew up rooting for the Steelers, as virtually everybody born near Pittsburgh is raised.
Which is why the concern that he expressed for Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown possessed an air of authenticity to it as he lamented the All-Pro wide receiver’s extensive workload that he has experienced this season, wondering if he were being overworked.
It is merely a coincidence, of course, that his Packers happen to be heading to Pittsburgh for this Sunday’s matchup with the Steelers, and that a plan of action to see Brown’s workload reduced would directly benefit his team.
McCarthy, obviously, was joking when he said during his conference call with the local media recently that Brown “frankly looks overworked, so if he needs to take a week off, this would be a good week for it”. But I do think it speaks to the congenial air that exists not just between him and his hometown, but also between the two organizations.
While the Packers have a much longer history of success, given that they actually had some good teams prior to the NFL-AFL merger—I believe the Super Bowl trophy is even named after some guy who might have had something to do with the team—the two blue-collar, small-market teams have a lot of commonalities.
There even bear resemblances between McCarthy and the Steelers’ head coach, Mike Tomlin, though not in appearance. The former has held his post just one season longer than Tomlin, but they have found similar success in the interim.
In fact, this is the first time that I have checked in on the matter this season, but it appears that with the Steelers’ success and the Packers’ struggles this year, Tomlin has now passed McCarthy in career winning percentage, which previously was not the case.
Currently, Tomlin is 111-59 all-time with a .653 winning percentage, which stands as the 16th-best mark in NFL history, the 11th-best among those who have coached 100 or more games, and eighth-best among those with 100 or more wins. McCarthy is now 119-66-1 in his career with the 20th-best winning percentage all-time at .642.
While McCarthy has won one conference championship and one Super Bowl, Tomlin has won two conference championships. Of course, McCarthy’s first Super Bowl game at the expense of Tomlin’s potential second.
But as two of the only three franchises in league history to have three different coaches lead their team to a Super Bowl title are about to renew their history together, only the Steelers appear to be in a position to try to extend their championship legacy this year.