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FRISCO, Texas -- In the blink of an eye, two of the greatest of all time departed their longtime football homes this week. Six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick and seven-time college national championship head coach Nick Saban and saw their tenures with the New England Patriots and the University of Alabama end on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ahead of the second-seeded Dallas Cowboys' Super Wild Card Weekend showdown with the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers, Mike McCarthy and some of his players took time to reflect and appreciate their careers. 

"Well, change is constant in our league," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday. "I think when you see careers, I think you need to show respect. Those guys have done it, I mean Coach Belichick and Coach Saban, their numbers speak for themselves. Championships. The consistency. The longevity. Personally, I do feel sustained success is the biggest challenge in this league and those two have done it as good or better than anybody."

McCarthy went head-to-head with Belichick's Patriots five times, emerging with a 3-2 record head-to-head. He lost two of three as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers with the lone victory a 26-21 triumph at Lambeau Field, coming in Week 13 of the 2014 season. McCarthy got revenge and won both meetings against Belichick as the head coach of the Cowboys: a 35-29 overtime road win in Week 6 of the 2021, a game that ended on a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to wide receiver CeeDee Lamb as well as a 38-3 drubbing at AT&T Stadium in Week 4 this season in running back Ezekiel Elliott's homecoming game. 

Prescott, a Louisiana native, naturally grew up a Peyton Manning fan, actively rooting against Belichick and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Eight seasons into his own NFL career, he possesses a much greater appreciation of what the Patriots accomplished in Belichick's 24-year as head coach, averaging a Super Bowl victory every four years.  

"For one, just thankful getting to compete against a guy [Belichick] like that," Prescott said Thursday. "A guy that wrote a lot of history in this game, been so influential to the game. Him and the Patriots organization, remarkable. Obviously, we're talking about trying to win Super Bowls and chase greatness. Those guys have been the ones that I've seen throughout my lifetime really dominate that. It's impressive. No different than Tom [Brady], two guys that I disliked a lot growing up before I understood what they were doing and then became the fact of admiring their abilities and their mindsets to be great year in and year out and do that consistently is something that I continue to chase. Great career, obviously can still do it and interested I guess as the rest of us are if it's on to another place or not. Hell of a coach. Always fun competing against him. Look forward to what his future is."

The 35-point loss McCarthy, Prescott and the Cowboys handed Belichick's Patriots stands as the six-time Super Bowl champion's largest loss in any game of his head coaching career. That may not be the last matchup between the two Super Bowl champion head coaches since Belichick is likely to land with a different NFL team in 2024