It was Bart Starr’s birthday. A chilly afternoon in Green Bay. Inside 1265 Lombardi Avenue, Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst were excited and looking forward to getting back to championship football. Late Tuesday afternoon they introduced Matt LaFluer as the 15th head coach in the Green Bay Packers history.
It’s a new era of Packers football. Mark Murphy even cursed during the introductory press conference. He had found the man he thinks who will bring the Lombardi Trophy home.
Murphy kicked off the press conference by discussing the the interview process. There were several key nuggets that came out of this portion:
- There were 10 candidates interviewed to be the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers. LaFluer was the last one. None of the first 9 candidates blew Murphy away. LaFleur killed the interview. Russ Ball, Brian Gutekunst and Murphy all walked out of the interview stating that they liked LaFluer. If they didn’t Murpahy stated that they probably would have brought their top 2 or 3 candidates in for a second round interview and maybe open it back up.
- Once they had their man, Gutekunst had Aaron Rodgers reach out to LaFleur to get to know him and start building that relationship. This gave LaFleur an indication that the interview went well.
- LaFluer ended the interview by asking Murphy for their timeline in making a decision. Another indication that the interview went well.
- The power structure that was set in place last off-season will remain in place. Head Coach LaFleur will report to Mark Murphy instead of General Manager Brian Gutekunst.
- The search committee included the players in the search for the next head coach. They had a player from each position group involved and got insight into what they wanted in a head coach.
- Mark Murphy new he got his coach when he made the job offer and there was silence on the other end. Matt LaFleur was speechless.
Head Coach Matt LaFleur was front and center in his dream position of being an NFL head coach. He worked his way up the ladder. With this wife, children, parents and in-laws sitting in the audience, LaFleur had reached the mountain top. After thanking his family, and the Packer brass, he called it a surreal experience being the Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers.
- It has been widely reported that LaFleur stated in his interview that he would keep Mike Pettine as his defensive coordinator. That is still a possibility. During his press conference, he stated that no decision has been made on current coaching staff members and he has yet to talk with Mike Pettine.
- Speaking of defense, it was interesting to hear what he was looking for on that side of the football. He wants a ball-hawking defense that will create turnovers.
- LaFleur ke reiterating that is he eager to get to work with Aaron Rodgers and excited to work with someone who is as competitive as he is.
- LaFleur has only called the plays for one year and that was when he was with the Tennessee Titans this past year. As the offensive coordinator the year before with the Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay called the plays. During the press
conferencehe confirmed that he will be calling the offensive plays.
There are no guarantees that this will be a success and Green Bay will return to TitleTown. One thing is for sure, LaFleur was impressive during his opening press conference. He demonstrated poise and was even a little nervous, which showed he wants this. Now it’s time for Gutekunst and LaFleur to go to work and build a championship team.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag