The Green Bay Packers aren’t heading to the Super Bowl, and their defensive coordinator is now heading out of Green Bay.
Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will not return to the team for the 2021-22 season after the Packers opted to let his contract expire, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
#Packers DC Mike Pettine’s contract is expiring and he will not return in 2021, source said.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 29, 2021
Pettine’s exit marks the end of a three-year tenure in Green Bay, which began under former head coach Mike McCarthy in 2018. Pettine was retained when Matt LaFleur replaced McCarthy in 2019.
The Packers surged to the best record in the NFC this season at 13-3, with Pettine’s defense ranking 13th in the league in points allowed and ninth in total defense. That was enough to win when Aaron Rodgers was playing like an MVP, but it was a failure in the NFC championship game that might have sealed Pettine’s fate.
Facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a trip to Super Bowl LV on the line, the Packers allowed 31 points and 351 yards to Tom Brady. The worst came at the end of the first half when Brady connected on a 39-yard touchdown pass to Scotty Miller with just seconds remaining. That touchdown put the Packers down 21-10 entering the half, and they weren’t able to make it up in the game’s final 30 minutes.
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) January 24, 2021
It’s rare to see a playcall get as much as buzz as the play itself, but Pettine’s decision on that play ended up being one of the most scrutinized decisions of the playoffs. Pettine employed just one deep safety on the play, resulting in cornerback Kevin King having no help when Miller burned him bad enough to invite a back-and-forth with Tyreek Hill after the game.
No coach should be defined by one play, or even one game, but it’s hard to ignore the frustrations of a loss like that as Pettine leaves town. Of course, he was facing criticism from fans before the game as well.
Despite such a successful regular season, the Packers will now head into 2021 with two new coordinators after letting Pettine go and firing special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga.
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