LaFleur Family Winner? The Parents

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – One thing’s for sure: Denny and Kristi LaFleur will be joining the snowbirds in South Florida in a couple weeks.

“I know they’re going to the Super Bowl, one way or the other,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said on Wednesday, the official media kickoff for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at San Francisco, a game in which his brother, Mike, will be on the other sideline as the 49ers’ passing-game coordinator. “It’s mixed emotions. It is what it is. It certainly was last time, too. Anybody that knows me knows how much my family means to me – my brother, my parents and my wife and kids. It is an emotional deal but this is not about us. This is about the Green Bay Packers vs. the San Francisco 49ers, two great football teams, with the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

LaFleur downplayed the prospect that the family ties will have any bearing on the outcome on Sunday. He said the 49ers’ offensive staff consisted of a bunch of great coaches – though he playfully excluded his brother from the list.

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“First of all, who said he’s a great coach? I never said that,” LaFleur said with a smile.

To be sure, the family and coaching staff ties will be a theme this week. LaFleur worked with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan in Houston, Washington and Atlanta, so they know each other well. The brothers worked for the Falcons in 2015 and 2016, when Shanahan was offensive coordinator.

“They’re more than just one guy over there,” LaFleur said in reference to his brother. “There’s a lot of great coaches over there. Kyle Shanahan, (run-game coordinator) Mike McDaniel, (running backs coach) Bobby Turner – I’ve worked with all those guys – (tight ends coach) Jon Embree. I could go on and on and on. I have a lot of respect for their ability to dissect the tape and come up with a good game plan. I’ve seen it first-hand, I’ve lived it with those guys. I know they’re going to have stuff ready for us. It’s on us to go out there and make sure that we’re disciplined in our approach defensively and that we trust what we see, we trust our preparation and then, ultimately, it’s going to go down to execution.

When the Packers played at San Francisco in November, LaFleur’s wife and kids went to California early and stayed with Mike LaFleur. Not this time. This time, Matt LaFleur said, there has not been much communication between the brothers.

“It’ll probably be that way for the remainder of the week,” LaFleur said.