Just days after head coach Matt LaFleur publicly criticized a defensive play call from Sunday’s NFC Championship game loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Packers decided not to bring Pettine back in 2021.
The Bucs scored on a 39-yard touchdown pass on the play in question and it drew the ire of the coach after the game.
“It was man coverage…definitely not the right call for the situation and you can’t do stuff like that against a good football team and expect to win,” LaFleur said. “You just can’t do that stuff. I blame us as coaches for putting our guys in that situation. That’s inexcusable. That should not have happened. So we’ve got to take a look at it, do some self-reflection and try to figure out ways on how that can’t happen again.”
ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky first reported that Pettine never signed a contract extension that was offered to him after last season, therefore his contract had expired. It means the Packers simply decided not to bring Pettine back and didn’t actually have to fire him.
The Packers made progress under Pettine this season, moving into the top 10 in overall defense (ranked 9th in 2020).
“We want to thank Mike for his commitment to the Packers for the last three seasons. He was an important part of our success,” LaFleur said in a statement released by the team Friday afternoon. “As a first-time head coach, he was also an invaluable resource for us during our time together.”
Pettine has worked as an NFL coach for 17 seasons, including the last three as the Packers defensive coordinator. He was hired in 2018 by Mike McCarthy and continued for two more seasons under LaFleur.
The Packers also officially announced the dismissal of special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga on Friday.
LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutekunst are both scheduled to meet with reporters in a season ending press conference on Monday morning.