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One-on-one interview with Packers Coach Mike McCarthy

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GREEN BAY — There are four games to go in the Green Bay Packers‘ regular season. Then, the team hopes for a long playoff run. As the Packers come off of a victory over division rivals, the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, FOX6’s Tim Van Vooren sat down for a one-on-one interview with Packers Coach Mike McCarthy.

Tim Van Vooren: “How competitive do you think you are — just your competitiveness?”

Mike McCarthy: “Compared to what?”

Van Vooren: “I guess if you described yourself as a person, are you an extremely competitive person?”

McCarthy: “Absolutely. I wouldn’t be sitting here doing this interview if I wasn’t extremely competitive. I am about winning. That’s all I believe in, and I’ve never felt otherwise. As a kid, I was fortunate to grow up the right way. My father and mother are both competitive people. Our youth sports were very competitive and successful, so I am about winning. I am about the moral path, but I don’t really believe in moral victories because if you live the moral path, the result is something you can live with.”

Van Vooren: “You’ve been in the game long enough, there is so much more technological opportunity now, with video and everything else. Is it easier for you now to make your points, or for a coach to make his points with all these advances that have come in the last 15, 20 years?”

McCarthy: “I think it’s harder, because in this information evolution that we live in, there’s so much more access of information. I think sometimes we get caught up in the X’s and O’s and the statistics, and the media is so much more educated. There is so much more information to the fans, and it’s like ‘hell, you guys can’t beat cover two. Oh, we’re playing cover two so we’re done.’ I think people get away from the essence of what team sports is all about. It’s more about the pulse of a team and how the team is connected, the culture, the drive and what shows up on game day.”

Van Vooren: “In communications, sometimes we’ll encounter a high schooler or a college student who says they are interested in communications, and they wonder if it’s a good field to go into, and how would they go about it? If someone got five minutes with you and said they were interested in becoming a football coach, what would you tell them?”

McCarthy: “Frankly, I got into coaching to be a college coach. I felt that college football is the best point in a young man’s life, that you can really make an impact. It’s a great field. You’re a teacher and you have an opportunity to make an impact in people’s lives.”

Van Vooren: “Have you felt you’ve made an impact in someone’s life, not just as a football player? Have you had that experience where later on, they have been able to come back and say, you know, you really did something for me, Mike, as I went forward in my life?”

McCarthy: “I actually just got a letter that I opened before I came down for this interview. It was very interesting to read it. I don’t really want to put him on the spot. Just a common phrase, a common belief of mine that he had mentioned in the note, and he’s now getting into coaching, so yes, I’ve had those moments.”

Van Vooren: “It seems like in the last couple of years, not to oversimplify, but what happened from December to January defined your season for a lot of people — the tail end of it, so what has to happen right at the tail end of this year for you guys to be where you want to be?”

McCarthy: “Well, it’s time to play your best football. You have to play your best football in December, and that’s our focus.” 

Van Vooren: “Is that fair? All the work you guys put in all year to have people judge you on the last couple of weeks, or a win here or a loss there? Or is that just the way it goes?”

McCarthy: “Tim, I enjoy our time together, but someone from the media asking what’s fair makes me want to fall out of my chair. That’s our business, and that’s the way it is. You have to play your best football at the end because it’s nice to stack up wins early in the year. We know what that looks like, but if you’re not playing your best ball at the end, you may or may not get into the tournament, or if you do get into the tournament, you don’t have the confidence that you need.”

Van Vooren: “It wasn’t that long ago, or maybe it was, depending on your perspective, that you were over in that room on a cold night being hired as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. How do you reflect on your years here?”

McCarthy: “I think that’s for another interview down the road.” 

Van Vooren: “Is that a promise or a threat?”

McCarthy: “A promise.”

When the Packers won Super Bowl 45, it was McCarthy’s first trip ever to a Super Bowl. This year, the Super Bowl is in New Orleans — a place McCarthy worked for five seasons with the Saints.