In two seasons as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur is 26-6 in the regular season. He’s 2-2 in postseason play. Under LaFleur, the Packers have gone to the NFC title game in both years, losing both times. LaFleur was heavily criticized for a late-game decision against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the conference championship last weekend. Even the father of Bucs quarterback Tom Brady took a shot at the Packers coach.
Matt LaFleur’s football career
Matt LaFleur played college football at Western Michigan and played wide receiver during the 1998 and 1999 seasons. He then transferred to Division II Saginaw Valley State, where he played quarterback. After graduating, LaFleur played briefly in the National Indoor Football League as a backup quarterback.
In 2003, LaFleur began his coaching career. He started at his alma mater, Saginaw Valley State. He also coached at Central Michigan and Northern Michigan. LaFleur broke into the NFL as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans in 2008. In 2010, LaFleur went to coach the quarterbacks with the Washington Redskins.
Lafleur returned to the college level in 2014 when he was the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame. He jumped back into the NFL the following season to become the quarterbacks coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He then became the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2017 and then held the same position with the Tennessee Titans in 2018. LaFleur was hired by the Green Bay Packers to become their head coach in 2019.
LaFleur has success with the Green Bay Packers
Matt LaFleur replaced Mike McCarthy as head coach of the Green Bay Packers in January of 2019. McCarthy had been with Green Bay for 13 seasons. After eight straight winning seasons, McCarthy’s Packers had consecutive losing seasons, and he was fired after Week 13 in 2018 with his team at 4-7-1.
LaFleur quickly helped get the Packers back on track in 2019. He developed a strong rapport with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers finished 13-3 and made their way to the NFC title game. In 2020, the Packers, again, went 13-3, grabbing the top seed in the NFC. Both seasons, however, they lost in the conference championship.
LaFleur made a puzzling decision in last weekend’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With his team trailing by eight points with a little more than two minutes remaining in the game, LaFleur elected to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 8. The Buccaneers got the ball back and Green Bay never saw the ball again.
Tom Brady Sr. fired a shot at LaFleur
In an interview with The Boston Herald on Monday, Tom Brady’s father was being interviewed, and the topic was his son’s split with the New England Patriots. Brady Sr. had mentioned to the Herald last year that Patriots coach Bill Belichick no longer wanted Brady. The elder Brady knew it was inevitable Brady and the Patriots would drift apart.
Brady Sr. said the split was good for his son, who is headed back to the Super Bowl. Belichick and the Patriots finished 7-9. “They had a great 20-year run, as good a run as anybody has ever had. Without disparaging Bill in any way, I just think it was time,” said Brady Sr. “That doesn’t minimize what Bill did. As we saw last night, the coaches can screw up the game.”
Brady Sr. was speaking about Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur’s decision to kick a field goal down by eight with a little more than two minutes remaining. The elder Brady knew his son wouldn’t give the ball back to the Packers, who were hoping for one last possession. The Pack never got the ball back.