In his first season as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur is one win away from helping guide the franchise back to the Super Bowl in nearly a decade. The pairing alongside star quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a bumpy start, but the two have figured it out, helping guide the franchise to the ultimate benchmark. With the Packers on the doorstep of reaching Super Bowl 54, Rodgers has voiced high hopes to replicate much of the success of another NFL franchise while playing under LaFleur.
Matt LaFleur, Aaron Rodgers quickly find success
Following the decision to move on from Mike McCarthy after nearly 13 seasons, the Packers decided to bring in LaFleur for his first experience as an NFL head coach.
It was a risky choice to take a chance, but it has panned out immediately with the Packers putting together a strong campaign. Green Bay captured their first NFC North division title in three years while racking up at least 13 regular-season wins in nearly a decade.
The Packers offense had plenty of balance that featured a greater reliance on the running game, with running back Aaron Jones finally being used in a higher capacity leading to his first 1,000 rushing-yard campaign. Rodgers’ numbers were down a bit, but he has shown that he can continue to play at a high level at this stage of his career.
Green Bay is in the position to potentially reach the Super Bowl with a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game. With that in mind, Rodgers has made one strong proclamation about his time ahead with LaFleur.
Aaron Rodgers’ high hopes
Although Rodgers has a strong desire to play into his 40s, it has brought into question his legacy.
The former two-time league MVP has the prime chance to a second Super Bowl win to his resume. With that in mind, Rodgers has voiced that he wants to surpass the pair of Super bowls that Hall of Famer John Elway had with Mike Shanahan at the end of his career, according to Jason Wilde of the Athletic.
“I appreciate the history of the game,” Rodgers said. “But I still feel like, they won two Super Bowls, but John played only four seasons with Mike.
“I’m hoping to get more than that with Matt.”
Elway retired at age 38 after back-to-back Super Bowls, which further clarifies that Rodgers has no intention of retiring any time soon. Given the Packers’ immediate success under LaFleur, the 36-year-old is quite confident that the team can continue to compete for championships.
That will mainly lie on his shoulders to continue to play at a high level in the latter stages of his career to keep that window open for Green Bay. The opportunities will be there; it’s just a matter of the Packers making the most of it.
Packers’ tough challenge ahead against 49ers
Before any of those aspirations can be met, the Packers have a tough task in front of them in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers.
These two teams played in Week 12 at Levi’s Stadium, which saw San Francisco dominate them 37-8. Rodgers was unable to get anything going in that contest with just one scoring drive in the second half.
The second time around could be quite different, but the Packers will have to figure out how to offset the 49ers’ stout defense that is finally healthy. That will dictate how the game unfolds as that will be on Rodgers and LaFleur’s shoulders to put forth the right game plan to pull through this time around.
Nonetheless, it sets up what should be an entertaining NFC title game with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.