It’s All Mike McCarthy’s Fault!

Cowboys fans were going nuts after the Boys first preseason game Saturday night. The Cowboys committed 17 penalties that were called, four others were declined. That is the most in a preseason game in the past three years. Add that to the fact that the Cowboys were the most penalized team in the league last year and you can see why the fan base is going nuts.


All of the blame is laser focused on the head coach, Mike McCarthy. But is it really all his fault? My take has always been no, the players have to share in some of the responsibility, after all, they are pros, they get paid and know what a penalty is so stop doing it. But then our  superstar producer James Pledger did some eye opening research on penalties and McCarthy’s career.


Packers Penalties under McCarthy
2006 – 22nd with 90 called – 25th in yards – 22nd with 9 holds
2007 – 4th with 113 called – 2nd with 1006 yards – 9th with 13 holds
2008 – 2nd 110 penalties – 1st 984 yards – 2nd 17 Holding
2009 – 1st 118 penalties – 2nd 1057 yards – 6th 16 Holding calls
2010 – 29th with 78 penalties – 30th with 617 yards – 27th with 9 holds
2011 – (Super Bowl Year) – 31st in penalties with 76 – 31st in yards 591 – 31st in holds 7
2012 – 13th in penalties 103 – 9th in yards 923 – 8th in Holding w/ 19
2013 – 25th in penalties 86 – 19th in yards 801 – 4th in holding w/ 19
2014 – 26th in penalties 92 – 26th in yards 775 – 2nd in holding 20
2015 – 17th in penalties with 105 – 18th in yards 906 – 4th in holding 23
2016 – 24th in penalties 100 – 28th in yards 827 – 16th in holding 16
2017 – 25th in penalties with 96 – 27th in yards with 789 – 31st in holding 8
2018 – 19th in penalties with 108 – 18th in yards – 937 – 15th in holding with 15


Cowboys Penalties under McCarthy
2020 – (COVID in person staff interactions limited in his 1st season) 11th in penalties with 96 – 13th in yards with 849 – 31st in holding with 7
20212 – 1st in penalties w/ 127 – 2nd in yards 1103 (Raiders had 1104) – 1st in holding penalties with 27


His teams have a history of penalty calls, in fact most ranked in the top 10, with the exception of the Packers Super Bowl year, they were next to last in penalties. That tells me there is a culture within McCarthy’s system that either overlooks penalties or encourages them.

It’s hard to wrap my head around the latter, but it is worth thinking about.


Penalties killed the Cowboys last year, most notably in the playoff loss to San Francisco. Until it is a point of contention and players are held accountable,  it appears the yellow flags will be a thing at Cowboys games.


It is hard for me to completely put all the blame on the head coach, but in this case, it is hard to argue with the numbers and the results.

Let me know what you think, @joereinagel210 and on The Blitz, Monday-Friday, 4 to 7pm on 94.1 FM and AM 1250