Over the years, Stephen A. Smith has made his love for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers known. He thinks that he’s “a bad man.” Smith’s love for Rodgers recently led to him revealing his disgust for Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. In fact, Smith called LaFleur out after Green Bay’s loss in the NFC Championship Game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He didn’t hold back, either.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers lost in the NFC Championship Game
Aaron Rodgers is 37 years old. He arguably had the best season of his career with the Green Bay Packers in 2020, though.
Rodgers threw for 4,299 yards, and an NFL-leading 48 touchdown passes this season, the most TD passes he has thrown in a single season in his entire career. He also posted his best completion percentage since becoming the Packers’ starter, as he completed 70.7% of his passes. Rodgers also only threw five interceptions this year.
His play led the Packers to a 13-3 record for the second consecutive season and a second straight NFC Championship Game. However, in the conference title game, despite Rodgers throwing for 346 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won 31-26. Many people have since blamed Packers head coach Matt LaFleur for the loss, too.
Matt LaFleur made a questionable decision on fourth down
The Green Bay Packers had a first down on the Buccaneers’ eight-yard-line with 2:22 left, and they trailed 31-23. However, after three consecutive incomplete passes, the Packers faced a fourth down with a little over two minutes left.
Instead of giving the ball to Rodgers, Matt LaFleur chose to kick the field goal on fourth down, which made it 31-26. Green Bay never got the ball back, though, as Tampa Bay just ran out the clock on the ensuing possession to clinch the win.
So, what did Rodgers think of the call?
“It wasn’t my decision,” Rodgers said, according to ESPN.
He also said that he might not have run the play that he ran on third down had he known that the team was going to go for a field goal on fourth.
“I thought maybe we were gonna have four chances to go,” Rodgers said, according to ESPN.
LaFleur stood by his decision, though.
“We knew we needed to get a stop, and I thought we were going to have a stop there at the end, but we got called for [defensive pass interference] and it didn’t work out,” he said, according to ESPN. “I think anytime something doesn’t work out, do you regret it? Sure, but we’re always going to be process-driven here, and the way our defense was battling, the way our defense was playing, it felt like it was the right decision to do. It just didn’t work out.”
Stephen A. Smith trashes Matt LaFleur
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith always has something to say when it comes to sports. He made his opinions about LaFleur known with a video he posted on Twitter directly after the game, too. However, Smith continued to reveal his disgust for the Packers’ head coach on the Jan. 25 episode of First Take.
“It was a straight choke job by the coach; if this were a player, we would call it a choke job,” Smith said. “Matt LaFleur choked, coached scared out of his damn mind, looked in over his head. And, oh by the way, at the end of the day, ended up reminding you why it was questionable why he was named the head coach of the Green Bay Packers to begin with because, for those of you who don’t remember, this was the man who presided over the 27th-ranked offense in the National Football League in the Tennessee Titans when he was hired as the coach of the Green Bay Packers.”
Jeez, after two consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances, Smith is even questioning why LaFleur has his job.
He continued: “You started off the season screwing [Rodgers] over because you had a succession plan that you put right in front of his face by drafting Jordan Love, and you ended the season by taking the ball out of the hands of a guy who is about to be named league MVP. … I’m so disgusted with what I saw from Matt LaFleur yesterday; it’s just inexcusable.”
Smith concluded his rant by saying: “He coached scared, he choked, and at the end of the day, this will be a lasting memory as far as I’m concerned.”
Well, tell us how you really feel.
Many have questioned LaFleur’s decision since the ending of the game, but probably none louder than Stephen A. Smith. This won’t be the last time we hear people discuss LaFleur’s choice to kick the field goal, either. It should be an interesting offseason.