(Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday, ending his 13-season tenure in charge of the storied National Football League (NFL) team.
McCarthy guided the Packers to a fourth Super Bowl triumph in the 2010 season and the franchise won their division six times and made the playoffs nine times under his command.
However, a 20-17 home loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals on Sunday proved to be the final straw in a disappointing season for the Packers, who look set to miss the playoffs.
McCarthy’s axing also comes amid reports of tension between the 55-year-old and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
McCarthy was Green Bay’s play caller and his approach has been criticized as overly conservative, failing to get the best out of Rodgers, a two-times NFL most valuable player.
The quarterback hinted at discord in October after a 22-0 win over Buffalo when he said the Packers had been “terrible on offense”.
Team president Mark Murphy said it was time for a change.
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers,” Murphy said in a statement after Sunday’s defeat, their fifth in six games, saw them fall to 4-7-1.
“As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.”
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was named interim head coach.
McCarthy departs with a record of 125 wins, 77 losses and two ties.
“Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field,” Murphy added.
“We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers.”
McCarthy has been coaching in the NFL for 25 years, starting as an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs before moving to the Packers as quarterbacks coach in 1999.
He later had stints as offensive co-ordinator with the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers before taking the head coach job at the Packers in 2006.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Nick Mulvenney/Peter Rutherford