What are head coaches judged on? Wins and losses. Apparently not Matt LaFleur, it seems.
The Green Bay Packers had gone 23-24-1 in the three seasons prior to LaFleur's arrival. He led the team to an outstanding 39-10 record in his first three years as the coach.
Pro Football Focus recently ranked the top 10 head coaches in the NFL ahead of the 2023 season. LaFleur was nowhere to be seen.
Some of the names ahead of LaFleur are completely understandable. LaFleur shouldn't rank higher than Andy Reid, who has led the Kansas City Chiefs to two championships and three Super Bowls in the past four seasons.
LaFleur shouldn't be ahead of Bill Belichick, who has six Super Bowl rings, or Mike Tomlin, another Super Bowl champion whose teams never have a losing record.
But LaFleur absolutely deserves to make the top 10, especially when PFF included New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll.
Sure, Daboll is a good coach. But he has one year of experience and his team went 9-7-1 and got blown out in the divisional round by the Philadelphia Eagles. Talk about recency bias.
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Aaron Rodgers factor leads to lack of respect for Packers head coach Matt LaFleur
There's no doubt that LaFleur benefitted from inheriting an offense led by Aaron Rodgers. But that in no way should discredit his achievements. The Packers weren't winning 13 games three years running before LaFleur's arrival.
In fact, no coach in NFL history had won 13+ games in three consecutive seasons before LaFleur did it. He also won more games in his first three seasons than any other NFL coach in history.
These are historic achievements by LaFleur. If it was as easy as just having Aaron Rodgers, why did no other coach with Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks set these records?
In the final four seasons of the Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay, Rodgers had dipped from his MVP best. LaFleur not only helped Rodgers rediscover his brilliant best, but he helped elevate his game to another level.
Rodgers was named MVP twice in four seasons under LaFleur. In those two years, he threw for 8,418 yards, 85 touchdowns, and nine interceptions with a passer rating of 116.7. Unreal.
LaFleur played a crucial role in that.
All we hear is that LaFleur will finally get tested now that Jordan Love is his quarterback and not a four-time MVP. Why does LaFleur not receive any credit for his role in the Packers' success just because Rodgers was his QB?
LaFleur has made an incredible start to his NFL head coach career, and he deserves far more respect.