Packers take on Bucs in NFC Championship

The Packers and Buccaneers will take the field this Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

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TE Robert Tonyan

The Packers and Buccaneers will take the field this Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

  • This will be just the second time Green Bay and Tampa Bay have played in the postseason. The only other meeting took place in the 1997 Divisional Playoff, with the Packers winning, 21-7, at Lambeau Field.
  • This will mark the first postseason matchup between teams who are led by Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Rodgers ranks No. 2 in NFL history with eight games with multiple touchdown passes and zero interceptions in 19 starts while Brady holds the No. 1 spot with 13 games in 43 starts. 
  • It will be the fourth time that Rodgers and Brady have faced off as starting quarterbacks, with Brady's teams holding a 2-1 advantage. 

Back in the NFC Championship

Sunday will be the ninth time Green Bay has played in the NFC title contest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

  • It will be the third time (2007 and 1996) that Lambeau Field will host the NFC Championship.
  • This will be Green Bay's fourth NFC Championship appearance since 2014 (2014, 2016, 2019), the most in the NFC over that span. No other NFC team has advanced to the conference title game more than once since 2014.
  • It marks the first time since 1995-97 that Green Bay has appeared in consecutive NFC title games. 
  • The team's first appearance in the NFC Championship came in 1995, when it traveled to Dallas. Green Bay held a fourth-quarter lead, but the Cowboys used two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns from Emmitt Smith to end Green Bay's season for the third straight year.
  • The Packers reached the NFC title game again the following year, hosting the first title game at Lambeau Field since the 'Ice Bowl.' The Packers overcame two early deficits to defeat the Panthers, 30-13, for their first Super Bowl appearance in 29 years. They would go on to beat New England in the Super Bowl.
  • In '97, the Packers reached the title game for the third consecutive season, this time traveling to San Francisco. Green Bay built a comfortable 13-3 lead on a rain-soaked afternoon in an eventual 23-10 win as it bounced the 49ers from the playoffs for the third straight year.
  • In '07, the Packers hosted the Giants in the third-coldest contest in championship game history with a game-time temperature of minus-1 and wind chill of minus-23. Lawrence Tynes sent New York to the Super Bowl with a 47-yard field goal in overtime for the Giants' 23-20 victory.
  • In the '10 NFC Championship, Green Bay beat longtime division-rival Chicago, 21-14. In a game that included five interceptions, Packers DT B.J. Raji helped seal the victory with an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown that put Green Bay up, 21-7, with just over six minutes remaining. The Packers went on to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers for the club's fourth Super Bowl and 13th NFL championship.
  • The Packers played at Seattle in the 2014 NFC Championship. After Green Bay took a 16-0 lead into halftime, the Seahawks outscored the Packers, 22-6, in the second half to force OT, and won on the first possession of extra time, 28-22.
  • Green Bay's last two NFC Championship appearances were road losses to Atlanta in 2016 (44-21) and San Francisco in 2019 (37-20).

WITH THE CALL

The game will be televised to a national audience on FOX with Joe Buck (play-by-play) and Troy Aikman (analyst) calling the action and Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi reporting from the sidelines.

  • Milwaukee's WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 50 stations in four states. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play), two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (analyst) and three-time Packers Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro John Kuhn (sideline) will call the action. McCarren first joined the team's broadcasts in 1995 and enters his 25th season calling Packers games. After originally being paired together in 1999, McCarren and Larrivee enter their 22nd season of broadcasts together. They surpassed Jim Irwin and Max McGee for the most regular-season and postseason games broadcast for the Packers with 313 at the 2018 season opener against Chicago.
  • The broadcast is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio (WTMJ feed), WTMJ.com via desktop computer and on numerous devices through NFL Game Pass.
  • Westwood One Sports will air the game on radio across the country. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Kurt Warner (analyst) and Laura Okmin (sideline) will call the action with Scott Graham hosting the pregame and halftime shows.

THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT:

Packers at Buccaneers:

  • All time, regular season: 32-22-1
  • All-time, postseason: 1-0
  • All-time, at home: 19-7 (16-5 at Lambeau Field)
  • All-time, at home in postseason: 1-0 (1-0 at Lambeau Field)
  • Streaks: The series is split 5-5 in the last 10 games between the two teams
  • Last meeting, regular season: Oct. 18, 2020, Raymond James Stadium, Buccaneers won, 38-10

COACHES CAPSULES

  • Matt LaFleur: 26-6-0, .813; (2-1 postseason); 2nd NFL season
  • Bruce Arians: 67-47-1, .603 (3-2 postseason); 7th NFL season
  • Head to Head: LaFleur 0-1 vs. Arians
  • vs. Opponent: LaFleur 0-1 vs. Buccaneers; Arians 2-0 vs. Packers (1-0 postseason)

MATT LaFLEUR…In his second season as the Packers' 15th head coach.

  • In his 12th season in the NFL, having previously served as an offensive coordinator for two seasons (Los Angeles Rams, 2017; Tennessee Titans, 2018), a quarterbacks coach for six seasons (Washington Redskins, 2010-13; Atlanta Falcons, 2015-16), and an offensive assistant for two seasons (Houston Texans, 2008-09).
  • Led the Packers to 26 regular-season victories during the 2019-20 seasons, trailing only George Seifert (28 wins) for the most in a head coach's first two seasons in NFL history.
  • Became only the fifth coach in NFL history to win 13-plus regular-season games in his first season as a head coach (Jim Caldwell, Seifert, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Mariucci).
  • Guided the Titans' offense in 2018 to a No. 7 league ranking in rushing (126.4 ypg) as Tennessee registered 11 games with 100-plus rushing yards, tied for No. 2 in the NFL.
  • Helped the Rams lead the league in scoring with an average of 29.9 points per game in 2017, more than doubling their average from 2016 (14.0 ppg).
  • Tutored QB Matt Ryan, who led the league in passer rating (117.1) in 2016 on his way to being named NFL Most Valuable Player by The Associated Press, and QB Robert Griffin III, who became the first QB in Washington franchise history to win AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.

BRUCE ARIANS…In his second season as the Buccaneers' 12th head coach. 

  • Is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, earning the award in 2012 (Indianapolis Colts) and in 2014 (Arizona Cardinals). Is the only coach in NFL history to earn the award multiple times in a three-year span with different teams and is one of only 12 coaches in NFL history to win the award multiple times.
  • In his first season with the Buccaneers in 2019, led Tampa Bay to a two-win improvement over the previous season, guiding the team to a 5-3 record over the last eight games to finish 7-9. The team's seven wins were its most since 2016. In addition, the Buccaneers' 5-3 record on the road matched the third-best road mark in team history.
  • Prior to arriving in Tampa, spent five seasons as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17) in addition to a 12-game stint as interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts (2012), compiling a regular-season record of 58-33-1. During that 92-game stretch he was a head coach, his 58 wins ranked fourth in the NFL, trailing only Bill Belichick (73), Pete Carroll (63) and Mike Tomlin (59).

THE PACKERS-BUCCANEERS SERIES

  • Sunday marks the 57th overall meeting between these former NFC Central rivals, including the postseason. They launched the series in 1977, when the expansion Bucs moved to the Packers' division after an inaugural 1976 campaign in the AFC West.
  • From the second meeting in 1992 through the first meeting in 1998, the Packers won 12 of 13 contests. The Bucs' lone win in that stretch came in overtime (Dec. 10, 1995).

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS

Packers defensive backs coach Jerry Gray played one season as a defensive back for the Buccaneers in 1993…Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett served as the Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach from 2006-07...Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles spent two years as a college scouting assistant for the Packers from 1995-96…Packers senior analyst Butch Barry served as Tampa Bay's assistant offensive line coach from 2015-18…Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy attended Hill Murray High School in Somerset, Wis., and the University of Wisconsin...Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling is from St. Petersburg, Fla., and played collegiately at the University of South Florida...Buccaneers LS Zach Triner spent time with the Packers late in the 2017 season and during the 2018 offseason...Packers G/T Billy Turner and Buccaneers OLB Shaquil Barrett played together for the Denver Broncos from 2016-18…Turner played with Buccaneers DL Ndamukong Suh for the Dolphins from 2015-16, and was coached by Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen when Christensen served as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator in 2016…Packers LB Za'Darius Smith and T Rick Wagner played with Buccaneers C Ryan Jensen during Jensen's tenure with the Ravens from 2014-17…Wagner, Packers TE Robert Tonyan and Buccaneers DL Jeremiah Ledbetter all spent time with the Lions in 2017...Packers DL Damon Harrison (2016-18) played with Buccaneers OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (2010-17), CB Ross Cockrell (2017) and CB Andrew Adams (2016-17) while with the New York Giants...Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Packers director of player engagement Grey Ruegamer played together for the New England Patriots from 2000-02...Packers LB Christian Kirksey and Buccaneers OL Earl Watford were both with the Browns organization in 2018...Packers TE Marcedes Lewis (2017) and Hackett (2017-18) both spent time with the Jaguars while Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette (2017-19), WR Jaydon Mickens (2017-18) and T Josh Wells (2014-18) were on the roster…Lewis played with Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich when Leftwich was the Jaguars' QB in 2006…Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert also played alongside Lewis in Jacksonville from 2011-13…Gabbert and Buccaneers G Aaron Stinnie both played for Packers head coach Matt LaFleur when he served as the Titans' offensive coordinator in 2018…Buccaneers special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong held the same position for the Falcons when LaFleur (2015-16) and Packers tight ends coach Justin Outten (2016-18) were on the staff…Packers wide receivers coach Jason Vrable served on Bowles' coaching staff when Bowles was the head coach of the New York Jets from 2015-18…Vrable coached Buccaneers RB LeSean McCoy while with the Bills from 2015-16…Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith coached Buccaneers DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches while serving as the assistant defensive line coach for the Chiefs in 2016-17…Buccaneers assistant head coach/run game coordinator Harold Goodwin coached Barry when Barry was an offensive lineman at Central Michigan in 2000-01...Packers WR Tavon Austin and Buccaneers defensive/special teams assistant Keith Tandy were teammates at West Virginia from 2009-11...Packers quarterbacks/passing game coordinator Luke Getsy and Buccaneers specialists coach Chris Boniol coached together for Mississippi State in 2018...Packers vice president of communications Jason Wahlers spent nine years with the Buccaneers' public relations department from 2002-10...Former college teammates include: Packers LB Randy Ramsey and Ledbetter (Arkansas); Packers G Lucas Patrick and Buccaneers CB Ross Cockrell (Duke); Packers CB Josh Jackson and Buccaneers OLB Anthony Nelson and T Tristan Wirfs (Iowa); Packers S Adrian Amos and Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin and T Donovan Smith (Penn State); Turner and Buccaneers T Joe Haeg (North Dakota State); Packers CB Kevin King and Mickens (Washington).

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