- Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – When coach Mike McCarthy stands in front of his Green Bay Packers players on Tuesday, he will have some explaining to do.
McCarthy, after Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, left them with the impression that they were out of playoff contention. He said his message after the game was about the tough stretch the Packers had been through and how disappointed they were with where they ended up.
“But I wasn’t of the mindset of, ‘Hey, let’s go watch the [Bears-Eagles] game tonight,” McCarthy said. “So now I know why some of them were looking at me like, ‘What the hell is he talking about?’”
McCarthy said that when he addressed the team after the game, he thought the Detroit Lions had beaten the New York Giants – they actually lost in overtime. Even that would not have eliminated the Packers from playoff contention. Only a Bears victory over the Eagles on Sunday night would have done that. But before most of the players had left Lambeau Field, the Eagles were well on their way to their 54-11 romp over the Bears.
That set up Sunday’s NFC North title game between the Packers and Bears at Soldier Field.
McCarthy quickly realized his mistake, and by the time he met with reporters after the game he said he was “embarrassed” by his postgame message to the team.
Players were off on Monday, but when they return to work on Tuesday there will likely be a different vibe.
“After their head coach talked to them, they thought the season was over,” McCarthy said Monday. “We’re excited. We’re excited about this opportunity. Obviously what transpired last night, we’re playing for the championship. We looked at yesterday’s game as a semifinal game and we were blessed to get help and now we’re playing in the finals.”