Narratives abound in Packers-Cowboys tilt, but narratives don't win or lose football games
Have you heard Mike McCarthy used to coach the Green Bay Packers? Or that he helped create Aaron Rodgers the destroyer of worlds before Rodgers helped destroy McCarthy’s world in Green Bay?
What about Matt LaFleur coaching under Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in Atlanta on a Super Bowl team with the Falcons? Surely, you’ve heard about how Rodgers owns the Cowboys, especially in Dallas.
The thing about those stories is they mean precisely nothing in a game the Packers desperately need to save any semblance of competency in 2022. Green Bay can’t rely on Rodgers putting Superman’s cape on once again, even if there are plenty of Cowboys fans scared of exactly that.
When the Dallas Cowboys come to Lambeau Field, their former Packers head coach in toe, Coach Mac won’t be calling plays, a mistake he made back in 2015 in an overreaction to the team’s failures in the NFC Championship Game the prior season. McCarthy re-took control of the offense from current Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.
In a way, this is a lucky break for the Cowboys—though this alteration to McCarthy’s approach is very much by design overall—because McCarthy had a tendency as a play-caller to call plays to prove a point, a trait his quarterback often shared. It would be easy for the emotional McCarthy, the same coach who broke down in near tears talking about his relationship with the Packers, the players, and the fans in his press conference this week, to call plays emotionally.
Kellen Moore will shoulder the burden instead, though there could still be chances for McCarthy to offer plenty of input.
On the flip side, Rodgers has been known to change plays at the line of scrimmage from time to time, or even ignore the play call altogether to run something else. His worst tendencies to play hero ball rather than run the offense as called have once again reared their head and would once again threaten to derail this offense if he can’t keep his emotions in check.
No, narratives don’t win or lose football games, but players and coaches are human beings. They aren’t immune to the effect those storylines can have on what goes on between the white lines.