It's not often you see an NFL head coach reach a conference title game during EACH of their first two seasons on the job, but that's exactly what Packers coach Matt LaFleur has pulled off in Green Bay.
After leading the Packers to the NFC title game in 2019 during his first year as head coach, LaFleur has them back in the NFC Championship for the second straight year following Green Bay's 32-18 win over the Rams on Saturday. The win means LaFleur is now just the third coach over the past 25 years to reach a conference title game in each of his first two seasons. LaFleur is also now just one of seven coaches who have pulled off the feat in the Super Bowl era.
The last coach to get this far in both of their first two seasons was Jim Harbaugh, who did it in 2011 and 2012 with the San Francisco 49ers. After being hired in 2011, Harbaugh actually led the team to three straight NFC title games and one Super Bowl.
Here's a full list of the coaches who have made it to the conference title game during their first two years on the job:
- John Madden, Raiders (1969-70)
- Don McCafferty, Colts (1970-71)
- George Seifert, 49ers (1989-90)
- Barry Switzer, Cowboys (1994-95)
- Rex Ryan, Jets (2009-10)
- Jim Harbaugh, 49ers (2011-12)
The good news for Packers fans is that four of the previous six coaches ended up reaching a Super Bowl and of the four that made it, three ended up winning it all.
Madden and Ryan were the two that didn't make it to the big game, but Madden more than made it up for it by winning Super Bowl XI in 1976. On the other hand, not only did Ryan never return to the playoffs, but he never even finished another season with a winning record.
Of the four that did make it to the Super Bowl, Harbaugh is the only won who didn't win it all. McCafferty (Super Bowl V), Seifert (Super Bowl XXIV) and Switzer (Super Bowl XXX) all won a Lombardi Trophy during their first two years as a head coach.
If you've never heard of McCafferty, it's probably because he got fired just two years after the winning the Super Bowl. When the Eagles fired Doug Pederson last week, it was the earliest a coach had been fired after winning a Super Bowl since McCafferty got let go in 1972, just two years after he won it all in Baltimore. The coach was dumped because he refused to bench Johnny Unitas.
As for LaFleur, not many coaches in NFL history have been better than him through their first two years. Not only has he led the Packers to two NFC title games, but he's also compiled a regular season record of 26-6, which is the second-best of any coach over their first two seasons trailing only Seifert, who started his career 28-4.