The Dallas Cowboys are nipping at the heels of the Philadelphia Eagles and are considered a potential threat to win the NFC Championship by many oddsmakers.
That's also the reason Mike McCarthy will open the 2023 season on one of the hottest coaching seats in the NFL.
McCarthy has posted a 30-20 regular-season record through his first three seasons in Dallas. During that time, the Cowboys are also 1-2 in the postseason.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been notoriously patient with his coaches — Jason Garrett's 10-year run on Dallas' sideline ahead of McCarthy's arrival being the prime example. However, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is a ready-made replacement should the Cowboys stumble out of the gate and Jones decides to make a move.
McCarthy has been installed as one of the three "favorites" to be the first NFL coach fired this season. He is being offered at +600 by SportsBetting.ag along with Las Vegas' Josh McDaniels and Tampa Bay's Todd Bowles.
FIRST NFL COACH FIRED ODDS
Mike McCarthy, Cowboys (+600)
Josh McDaniels, Raiders (+600)
Todd Bowles, Buccaneers (+600)
Ron Rivera, Commanders (+700)
Dennis Allen, Saints (+900)
Kevin Stefanski, Browns (+900)
Matt Eberflus, Bears (+1400)
Mike Vrabel, Titans (+1400)
Arthur Smith, Falcons (+1600)
Brandon Staley, Chargers (+1600)
Matt LaFleur, Packers (+1600)
Sean McVay, Rams (+1600)
Kevin O'Connell, Vikings (+2200)
Dan Campbell, Lions (+2500)
John Harbaugh, Ravens (+2800)
Mike Tomlin, Steelers (+3300)
Robert Saleh, Jets (+3300)
Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals (+4000)
Mike McDaniel, Dolphins (+5000)
Pete Carroll, Seahawks (+5000)
Doug Pederson, Jaguars (+6600)
Frank Reich, Panthers (+6600)
Sean McDermott, Bills (+6600)
Shane Steichen, Colts (+6600)
DeMeco Ryans, Texans (+7500)
Bill Belichick, Patriots (+10000)
Brian Daboll, Giants (+10000)
Kyle Shanahan, 49ers (+10000)
Nick Sirianni, Eagles (+10000)
Sean Payton, Broncos (+10000)
Zac Taylor, Bengals (+10000)
Andy Reid, Chiefs (+25000)
McDaniels is entering just his second season in Las Vegas, but the pressure has already mounted following a disappointing 6-11 record in 2022. The Raiders moved on from quarterback Derek Carr, and McDaniels has put his eggs into the basket of oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo, with whom he worked in New England from 2014-26.
Bowles also finds himself at the mercy of a murky quarterback situation. After Tom Brady's retirement, the Bucs signed former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, who won a training camp battle over Kyle Trask.
Tampa Bay plays in a lackluster division that includes New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina — three more teams that will begin the season with new starting quarterbacks. But the Bucs are expected to finish last in the NFC South by most books.
Another coach who could be on a short leash is Washington's Ron Rivera, who has two years remaining on his current contract. The Commanders are coming off a solid 8-8-1 season but are in a very deep division and the team's new ownership could choose to go in a different direction if the Commanders start poorly under first-year starting quarterback Sam Howell.
Rivera brought in a new offensive coordinator in Eric Bieniemy, and said a contract extension is part of talks he has had with new owner Josh Harris.
"They've gone well and they stand in a good situation," Rivera said recently of his conversations with Harris. "Those are all things that are all part of our discussion. And again, these are things that we talk about, we're working into.
"There's a lot to do and to assume anything's going to happen immediately is unfair because they are still learning and understanding us, and we're still talking with them and trying to get things lined up and in order."
—Field Level Media