Head coach Matt LaFleur and his Green Bay Packers are heading to the NFC championship game with a chance at the Super Bowl.
The Packers defeated the St. Louis Rams 32-18 yesterday (Saturday) to advance to the next round of the playoffs. Several Packers players had big games in the win, but LeFleur points out another advantage the team had against the Rams.
For the first time in a while, the Packers played a game in front of their adoring fan base. Though there were only around 7,500 in Lambeau Field last night, the Packers sure felt their presence.
All of the fans in attendance were rooting for their Packers to advance, often making loud noise in unison. It was enough to provide the team with an extra bit of motivation. LeFleur says team fed off of the small crowd’s big enthusiasm and energy giving them an edge. Despite the stadium at roughly 10 percent capacity, it felt like the home field advantage the team is used to.
“That definitely made a big difference,” he says of the crowd’s energy. “I think our guys really fed off their energy.”
Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers Credit Crowd for Victory
The head coach wasn’t the only one to fill the crowd’s presence during the game. Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers also says the team was inspired by the Lambeau faithful. The quarterback noted the stadium was rocking throughout the game with fans banging on the metal bleachers and chanting battle cries in unison.
“It felt like 50,000 when we ran out of the tunnel,” Rodgers says of the homefield crowd. “It was such a special moment. I forgot how much you truly, truly miss having a crowd there.”
Like every other National Football League team, the Packers were forced to adapt their attendance policy in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The Packers went threw most of the regular season without any fan in the stands. They were allowed to have a few hundred or so fans toward the end of the season but Saturday was their biggest crowd of the season.
The best part is that now fans will once again get to see their team play again next week as the Packers once again have home-field advantage. The Packers will play the winner of today’s (Sunday) game featuring the Tampa Bay Bucs and New Orleans Saints.