FRISCO - Not too many years ago, Mike McCarthy was driving his youngest daughter through the streets of their adopted hometown in Green Bay when the little girl, having sounded out the name of a street sign, needed an explanation from Daddy.
"Why,'' she asked, "does that sign say 'Mike McCarthy Way''?
"Because,'' Daddy answered, "we won a lot of games.''
McCarthy and wife Jessica have five children between them, one a boy who is in high school and trying to find a way to stay in Green Bay. That may slow the full family move here. But eventually, the McCarthys are DFW-bound, with Jessica looking for a house and Mike looking for a way, to, well, "win a lot of games'' again.
Oh, and to convince his kids to shift from being Packers fans to being Cowboys fans.
“They’re like, ‘Can we root for the Packers?’ I said, ‘Well, maybe someday, but right now we’re rooting for the Cowboys,’” McCarthy said, chuckling.
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Zeke did more this week here at The Star than just visit.
"You can't live in Green Bay and not follow them,'' McCarthy said the other day from inside The Star. "It's probably the same here (in DFW). It's part of the fabric of the community. The people have been awesome. That's our home; that was our hometown. They've been great to my family.''
McCarthy grew up a self-described "die-hard Steelers fan,'' the Pittsburgh born-and-bred son of a fireman and bar owner. He admits to a feeling of irony when, a few years ago, his Packers played in the Super Bowl (at AT&T Stadium) against his own beloved Steelers.
And now that he's got another former "die-hard'' team? Yes, he's happy to glad to see that the Packers - who fired him a year ago - are near the pinnacle again, as they play in today's NFC Championship Game against San Francisco.
"It's great to see them back where they should be,'' McCarthy said. "You've got to give those guys a lot of credit. I think the roster and the coaching has given them a chance to get to the Super Bowl."
In a subtle way, McCarthy notes that in some ways, these Packers are still his Packers, success built on success, as Green Bay in his 13 seasons qualified for the playoffs nine times and the NFC title game four times. That's how you get a street named after you, a street that's a few blocks from "Lombardi Avenue'' and "Bart Starr Road.''
"Let's be honest, you go through the emotions of (being fired),'' said McCarthy, joking that he didn't wish to "get into 'The Seven Steps of (Grief)' of it all. But ... it wouldn't have been very smart of me to not watch them, because that program that's there, that's something that was built over a 13-year period. Now what they've done with it, obviously, they've moved it forward and are having success, so I think it's important to watch.''
Mike McCarthy will watch today, wishing happy thoughts for his former team ... and happier thoughts for his new Cowboys "family'' in Dallas.