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 even 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.
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.
I asked Shaq Barrett if he was surprised the Packers kicked a field goal. “100% surprised. Hey, thank you. There’s no guarantee you’re going to get another shot at it.”
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 24, 2021
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.
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.
Bruce Arians on the decision to go for it on fourth down just before halftime, which led to the touchdown by Scotty Miller: “We didn’t come here to not take chances.”
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) January 24, 2021
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