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Green Bay Packers fire head coach Mike McCarthy

The big surprise is the timing

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Following their 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday that, effectively, ended the competitive portion of their season, it seemed that it wouldn’t be a matter of if the Green Bay Packers would fire Mike McCarthy, but rather of when.

Apparently “when” was about two and a half hours after the game ended.

In a surprising move, the Packers announced that they had fired McCarthy effectively immediately and were installing Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin as their head coach for the remainder of the season.

McCarthy is the second NFL head coach to be fired this season, following Hue Jackson being relieved of his duties by the Cleveland Browns. While some of the prevailing wisdom was that this was done to give the Packers a head start in their coaching search for next year. . .or, at least, that’s what the guys on the NBC halftime show were saying just now. . .I’m not sure who the Packers will be interviewing at this stage of the game.

McCarthy had a decent record against the Minnesota Vikings, as Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers carried him to a 16-9-2 mark over the Vikings over the years. Favre and Rodgers carried McCarthy to a lot of things, to be honest. But he was just 1-4-1 against the Vikings over the last three seasons, and even Rodgers wasn’t enough to cover for him any longer.

So, for the first time since 2006, there will be a new face on the Green Bay sidelines the next time the Packers and the Vikings meet, and that means that, in the long run, the Vikings’ loss to the New England Patriots might not even be the worst thing that happened to the Vikings on this particular Sunday.