Everything was going so well for Matt LaFleur, Aaron Rodgers and the 2020 Green Bay Packers. Rodgers had just recorded one of the best statistical seasons that the league has ever seen — at age 36/37, no less — and he and LaFleur had led the franchise to a 13-3 campaign for the second consecutive year. To start the playoffs, Green Bay rolled over the Los Angeles Rams, who boasted the No. 1 defense in football, and became only the second team all season to put up more than 30 points against Sean McVay's squad. And though the NFC Championship Game between Green Bay and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't exactly start as the Packers had planned, seeing as they trailed 28-10 early in the third quarter, they scored 13 unanswered points later in that period to make it a game once again.
It was a one-possession game with two minutes left in the fourth quarter when the deciding moment of the game occurred, and the rest is history.
Everyone was (and some still are) talking about it. Twitter was ablaze with reactions. "Why did Packers kick field goal" became a breakout search on Google. It even became a joke in Aaron Rodgers' brief stint as the guest host of "Jeopardy!" and is now immortalized in a bobblehead.
And LaFleur answered the critics and skeptics, saying that though the play stung and that "it’s going to take a long time to get over this one," he still felt as though it was the right decision.
“Anytime it doesn’t work out, you always regret it, right?” LaFleur said after the game (via Matt Schneidman). “It was just the circumstances of having three shots and coming away with no yards and knowing that you not only need the touchdown, but you need the two-point (conversion). The way I was looking at it was, we essentially had four timeouts with the 2-minute warning. We knew we needed to get a stop, and I thought we were going to have a stop there at the end but we got called for the P.I. and it didn’t work out.
“I think anytime something doesn’t work out, do you regret it? Sure, but we’re always going to be process-driven here and the way our defense was battling, the way our defense was playing, it felt like it was the right decision to do. It just didn’t work out.”
Four months after that infamous play call, a play call which may have directly and/or indirectly influenced the Packers' current situation with Aaron Rodgers, LaFleur was asked about one play or moment where he really regretted a certain decision he made on Sean McVay and Peter Schrager's "Flying Coach" podcast from The Ringer. And perhaps in an answer that shows he still feels that the field goal decision was a good call, the NFC Championship moment was not the play he chose.
"I think there's a lot of moments, but the one I remember the most was when we were playing the Baltimore Ravens when I was in Tennessee, and I think we had just over 100 yards of offense for the entire game," LaFleur recalled. "And my kids are in the stands, my wife's there, and the whole stadium is booing me every time our offense goes out on the field. It's just boo after boo after boo and I'm like, oh my god. You feel like you just want to stick your head in a hole because you can't avoid it. And it is what it is, and it was just, it was a really rough day, a very humbling experience."
McVay then asked LaFleur if there was one moment throughout his career where he felt as though he missed a chance to put his team in a rhythm, and he couldn't single out just one.
"Oh, you second-guess every play call. I'm not like you, Sean. Sean's like 'Rain Man' and we all know that, he can remember every play call he's ever made," LaFleur said. "But yeah, there's a lot of experiences. I feel like every game you go back and you're like, oh my gosh, why did I just call that play? It happens at least once a game, and I think, you know, we're so critical on all our players, I think a lot of times you gotta always kind of look back at yourself and make sure you're doing what's right by them and putting them in the best position to have success."