As it became more and more obvious that Jason Garrett would not return as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys next season, the two most common names we heard as potential replacements were Lincoln Riley and Urban Meyer.

Then when the official announcement was finally made about Garrett not returning, it didn’t take long for the announcement to be made that neither Riley nor Meyer were taking over.

Instead, the Cowboys went a different direction by bringing in Mike McCarthy, and many people were quick to say the Cowboys “settled” for the former Green Bay Packers head coach.

In the minds of many, McCarthy was a “boring” pick. The Cowboys didn’t necessarily make a splash by bringing him on board. He wasn’t, as many would say, a “sexy” pick.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more excited I am about McCarthy.

Neither Meyer nor Riley would have brought NFL experience and it’s rare for a college football coach to duplicate that success at the pro level.

We know what we’re getting in McCarthy: a proven winner.

He holds an overall record of 125-77-2 in the regular season and he led the Packers to the playoffs in nine of his 13 seasons as head coach. In six of those nine playoff seasons, he led Green Bay to at least one playoff victory.

Of course, that resume also includes winning a Super Bowl, in Arlington of all places.

Under Garrett, the Cowboys went 85-67 in the regular season and just 2-3 in the postseason.

A knock we’ve heard against McCarthy is that he became too stale in his final two seasons with the Packers before being fired by the organization. We know his relationship with Aaron Rodgers certainly became stale.

There are always two sides to every story and it’d be foolish to put 100 percent of the blame on McCarthy.

I can’t help but be impressed by the list of quarterbacks that McCarthy has worked with, guys like Rodgers, Brett Favre and Joe Montana.

Hopefully he’s able to take what he’s learned from some of the greats and help develop Dak Prescott.

At any rate, I for one am optimistic. I think the Cowboys took a step in the right direction with the hire of McCarthy.