Matt LaFleur is Ready For His Close-Up

I went to school in a fairly affluent area in Northern Utah, surrounded by kids who’s parents founded tech companies, chaired banking institutions, and owned car dealerships. I am not talking about car dealerships where the sales guys wear wacky ties and the cars smell of stale cigarettes and vanillaroma air fresheners. No, these kid’s parents owned national car dealerships with major brand tie-ins. These kids spent their Spring Breaks partying in St. Barts. I spent my Spring Break’s watching kids partying in St. Barts on MTV. I got to be pretty good friends with one of these scions. This kid had it all. He lived in a huge house. He always drove a new car. He always had the nicest clothes. His dad was into sailing. His mom was into plastic surgery. And, this dude had the most obsessively manicured eyebrows I had ever seen. Well, that was until three years ago when the Packers hired Matt LaFleur as their head coach. Those freaking eyebrows. They have their own Twitter account. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have their own insurance policy. Judging from those eyebrows, Matt LaFleur is ready for his close-up.

Good looking people have it easier than regular looking people. That’s not my opinion–it’s science. They make more money. They have more opportunities. They live longer. They tend to marry other good looking people and plop out good looking kids, who will eventually make more money, have more opportunities, and marry other good looking people and create their own good looking kids. It’s the circle of life. Matt LaFleur is a great looking person. He has a great looking wife. He has had opportunities that most regular people could only dream about. And, his kids are top marriage prospects for the 2026 nuptials season. When Matt LaFleur wakes up each morning, I imagine there are cartoon birds joyfully singing on his sunbathed window seal. I have this annoying crow outside my window who drags me from my peaceful slumber every morning around 6 A.M. #RegularPeopleProblems

For all his charm and his looks and his luck and his eyebrows, LaFleur is about to embark on the toughest journey of his professional career. Matt LaFleur is one of the winningest coaches through three seasons in NFL history. He skillfully guided Green Bay through the mess that was the Covid season. He traversed the Packers through the Aaron Rodgers-Jordan Love fiasco with aplomb. Now he is set to navigate Green Bay through the end of the Davante Adams era. But this time, he has a clock above his head. You see, Green Bay has, at best, maybe two more bites at the Super Bowl apple. A reckoning is coming. Aaron Rodgers time in Green Bay is getting short. It’s not quite Danny DeVito short, but maybe Robert Downey Jr. short. Having a Hall of Famer quarterback behind center for three decades has been an unbelievable privilege to watch, but it is not a birthright. Yes, one day very soon Aaron Rodgers will retire from the Packers and Jordan Love will take over the reigns. Jordan Love will fail. Green Bay will finally find itself in a position it has not had to negotiate since George H.W. Bush was still living in the White House. And then we will finally discover whether Matt LaFleur is the boy genius we all think he is.

Recently, Pro Football Focus ranked Matt LaFleur as the sixth best coach in the NFL, ahead of coaching legends the likes of Mike Tomlin and Pete Carroll, gentlemen who have shiny rings and decades of experience. This list also had Kliff Klingsbury as the fourth best coach in the league. It was a flawed list. I assume LaFleur’s ranking was due in large part to the 41 wins he has accumulated in his three seasons on the throne in Green Bay. Don’t get it twisted–that is a phenomenal number of wins for an NFL coach in his first three seasons on the job. However, most coaches don’t have a four time MVP winning quarterback guiding their vision. Call me a pessimist (trust me, I have been called worse). I look past the 41 wins, and focus on three specific losses. I am of course referring to the last three Packers playoff exits. Games in which Green Bay was favored. Games in which Green Bay was arguably more talented than their opponents. Games in which Green Bay had the best quarterback in the league at their behest. And, the best wide receiver in the league catching the passes said quarterback threw. Games in which Matt LaFleur stood by watching his offense like Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone’s vault. Three season that unfurled like a beautiful ballet performance and ended with the dancer stepping on a Lego.

I would like to think that Matt LaFleur has learned something from these repeated bed-shittings. I would hope he has spent this offseason devising some delicious wrinkles to his scheme that could potentially propel the Packers to capturing the Lombardi Trophy for a fifth time. Key word there–hope. LaFleur’s offense took a step back in 2021, garnering 6 fewer points per game, and averaging nearly 30 less yards per contest than they did in 2020. Now, they are set to take the field without Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes Scantling, and bereft the aid of roughly half of their offensive coaching staff from last season. This shifts the onus to LaFleur–it’s easy to scheme open the best wide receiver in the NFL. Can Matt scheme open the fourth best receiver from the 2021 Kansas City Chiefs? I am dubious. Facts make skeptics of us all.

Matt LaFleur has two postseason wins as a head coach. He only needs forty more to catch Bill Belichick. That may seem unfair, but that is the rarified air LaFleur finds himself in. If you are a top five coach in the NFL, than Belichick is your measuring stick. Bill Belichick is a regular guy. When Bill Belichick looks in the mirror, he sees a blue collar and a weathered visage. When LaFleur looks in the mirror, he sees eyebrows that are sharp enough to cut through steel, and a hairline that somehow is getting fuller with age (I swear to God, LaFleur’s hairline looks thicker than it did three years ago). Ugly people have to grind to survive. If Matt LaFleur wasn’t coaching football, he could be a news anchor in St. Louis, or a renowned plastic surgeon who has his own reality show. If Belichick wasn’t a coach, he would be a sergeant in the army of a taxi driver who never needed to use his GPS. Charlize Theron is one of the most beautiful people to ever walk the Earth. She won an Academy Award for making herself ugly. LaFleur needs to ugly it up this season. That comes natural to Belichick. LaFleur is going to have to work at it.

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Timothy Preece has been a Packers fan since 1991 and currently lives in Utah because he makes bad decisions. You can follow him on twitter at @LegitimateTimP.

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