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Aaron Rodgers and even the Buccaneers were surprised Packers' Matt LaFleur went for a field goal

Frank Schwab
·3-min read

It’s a simple, unscientific way of looking at a team’s strategic decision, but it usually works pretty well: What did the coaches, players and fans of the other team think about it?

If they were happy or relieved to see that starting pitcher get pulled or the other coach not go for it on fourth down, that’s telling.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were quite happy to see Mason Crosby on a fourth-and-goal late in the NFC championship game.

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur’s call will be debated for a long time, but not in Buccaneers circles. They agreed with it.

Shaq Barrett on Matt LaFleur’s decision: ‘Hey, thank you’

If you somehow missed the NFC championship game: The Packers had fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line just before the two-minute warning. They trailed 31-23, so even if the Packers scored they needed to get the 2-point conversion. LaFleur called for a field goal, which shocked just about everyone. Especially since he has the likely NFL MVP in Aaron Rodgers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rusher Shaq Barrett was shocked too.

Presumably, many other Buccaneers and those rooting for them felt similarly. Aaron Rodgers had a lot on the line, and while he said he understood the decision, there will be plenty of dissection of his answer to the question.

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur reacts after a pass interference call was made against Green Bay during the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur reacts after a pass interference call was made against Green Bay during the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Aaron Rodgers gives his opinion

Here’s Rodgers’ answer when asked about LaFleur’s call to kick a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down, and you can decide what he was thinking about the decision:

“It wasn’t my decision,” Rodgers said. “I understand the thinking. Above two minutes with all our timeouts. But, yeah, that wasn’t my decision.”

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians wasn’t talking about LaFleur’s decision but his own to go for it on fourth down near the end of the first half, but it was interesting to compare his attitude to LaFleur’s when it came to tough decisions.

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