GREEN BAY, Wis. – How good has Matt LaFleur been during his two years as the 15th coach in Green Bay Packers history?
With back-to-back seasons of 13-3, his 26-6 record equates to a .813 winning percentage. That is the highest winning percentage among all coaches with at least 25 games in NFL history.
The next four coaches on the list are legends, with Guy Chamberlain, John Madden, Vince Lombardi and George Allen being Pro Football Hall of Famers.
To be sure, having Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback has helped. LaFleur would be the first to say it. But, it’s worth noting, the Rodgers who won MVP honors in 2020 isn’t the same as the Rodgers of 2019. In 2019, Rodgers ranked 21st in completion percentage, 17th in yards per attempt and 12th in passer rating – about the same as in 2018. In 2020, Rodgers ranked first in completion percentage, third in yards per attempt and first in passer rating. He went from a combined 51 touchdown passes in 2018 and 2019 to 48 in 2020.
LaFleur deserves at least some credit for the improvement.
“I’m happy he’s here. We’ve had a great time together,” Rodgers said late last season. “We’ve been laughing all the way to the NFC Championship last year and back in the playoffs this year about any question about our working relationship. It’s been a lot of fun working together. I think he’s put together a fantastic staff.
“A lot of times, a head coach gets maybe too much credit and definitely too much blame for ones who haven’t been winning. A lot of that is on who he brings in, the type of culture that person creates, the accountability he holds assistant coaches to or the freedom that he allows assistant coach to have, and I think he’s been a good blend of all those things with him and his staff. It’s been fun on offense. He’s got a great group of teachers, and I enjoy the working relationship, enjoy the friendship, enjoy the communication. We’ve had a good run so far.”
It is also worth noting LaFleur won big with a mediocre Rodgers as well as with a brilliant Rodgers. That should provide some hope the Packers can win even if Rodgers does not return for 2021.
Really, the only blemish on his resume is the two losses in NFC Championship Games.
In regular-season play, LaFleur’s 26 wins are five more than any other Packers coach in his first two seasons. Only George Seifert won more games by any coach in NFL history. Those 26 wins are twice as many as the Packers won during the final two seasons of the Mike McCarthy era. That 13-game improvement is the best in Packers history; Lombardi was plus-11 during his first two seasons.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, LaFleur is the sixth coach since the 1970 merger to lead his team to a conference championship game in both of his first two seasons. The others: Jim Harbaugh (2011-12), Rex Ryan (2009-10), Barry Switzer (1994-95), Seifert (1989-90) and Don McCafferty (1970-71).
Also, according to the Packers, LaFleur is the second coach since the NFL went to a divisional format in 1967 to win 13-plus games and a division title in both of his first two seasons. The other: Seifert.
In his two seasons, the Packers are 11-1 against the NFC North. He still hasn’t experienced a losing streak.
Highest Winning Percentage (Min. 25 Games)
Matt LaFleur: 26-6 (.813)
*Guy Chamberlain: 58-16-7 (.784)
*John Madden: 103-32-7 (.759)
*Vince Lombardi: 96-34-6 (.738)
*George Allen: 116-47-5 (.712)
Ralph Jones: 24-10-7 (.706)
Report: Rodgers Will Return for Potential ‘Last Dance’
According to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, Aaron Rodgers has agreed to return to the Green Bay Packers for the 2021 season. Their status for 2022 will be reviewed after the season.
Report: ‘Expectation’ Is Rodgers Will Return to Packers
“He is our leader, and we’re looking forward to winning another Super Bowl with him,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said at the shareholders meeting. What will Aaron Rodgers choose to do? A hint was provided as Murphy spoke.
Jim Harbaugh: 44-19-1 (.695)
Johnny Hughitt: 34-15-7 (.694)
Blanton Collier: 76-34-2 (.691)
*Ray Flaherty: 80-37-5 (.684)