America’s Team sat back, rested, relaxed, and watched all of the lopsided Week 7 games unfold across the NFL like the rest of us during their bye week, and are now looking to get back to dropping their own lopsided results in their return. Up next for the Dallas Cowboys is a primetime road game on Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings so the entire world will get a chance to see whether or not any sort of momentum from the first six weeks of the season dissipated.
That is always the fear with teams that are having success, right? We are generally nervous that because they were off for a week that the Cowboys will have forgotten how to play well and never be able to re-capture it again.
While the Mike McCarthy-led version of this team doesn’t have a huge sample size in terms of coming off of their bye, the head coach has been around the NFL and bye weeks for a long time with the Green Bay Packers. How have his teams generally responded from their time away? We decided to find out.
There is a weird trend for Mike McCarthy-led teams following their return from the bye
We are all hopeful that Dallas will be able to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs so this exercise/discussion could prove to be valuable again in a few months time, although the results might not necessarily make anybody feel warm or fuzzy. They are weird.
Consider that Mike McCarthy has been the head coach of 14 teams prior to this season (including last year with the Cowboys) so there is a lot to look at here. Amazingly when McCarthy’s teams have had success (which has been rather often) they have gone into the playoffs with a bit of regression following the bye.
BTB’s own Aidan Davis was kind enough to compile this data and present the puzzling results. Generally speaking here, when Mike McCarthy’s team regresses after the bye, his teams have had their highest level of success in the postseason.
What’s more is that there is generally no correlation between McCarthy’s teams in terms of their play prior to the bye and following it. Interestingly the highest correlation comes between the time post-bye in a given season and pre-bye in the following one. Consider that McCarthy went 4-3 with the Cowboys post-bye last year and 5-1 before it here in 2021. That is a 9-4 record in between the two byes which again speaks to the weird connection there.
Ultimately it is difficult to draw any sort of conclusion here about how McCarthy’s team is going to perform after the bye this season; however, there is data to support that postseason success could be on the way if the team regresses. For what it’s worth, regression (from a winning percentage which is how we tracked it) is arguably likely this season. Not to be pessimistic or anything, but the Cowboys entered the bye with an 83.3% winning percentage. That would be difficult for any team to maintain over 11 games which is what the task now is for them.
Hopefully this season serves as some sort of aberration that sees McCarthy have just as much success post-bye as he did pre-bye. A lot of weird things are happening this year, let’s keep the party going.