How Do Packers Fans Feel About This Season?
Each week, we poll our Twitter followers from our @ThePowerSweep account to measure their approval of the Packers, their leadership, and their chances of winning that week’s game.
2019 marks our second full season of polling, and to celebrate we’ve crunched the numbers to find some interesting conclusions.
Fans unsure about new head coach Matt LaFleur
Mike McCarthy’s final season as Packers head coach got off to an entertaining start, with a thrilling Week 1 win over the Chicago Bears. His approval rating following the game was 77 percent, and it only decreased as the season wore on. McCarthy’s approval spiked after a 22-0 shutout win over the Bills and a Monday night win over the 49ers. He finished his tenure as Packers head coach with a 36 percent approval rating after the embarrassing December home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Fans were kind to interim head coach Joe Philbin – he never finished below 50 percent in any poll – but his lowest result came at the conclusion of the Packers’ season. After an eventful preseason (an oxymoron considering the quality of the games) that saw Rodgers sit for all four games, Matt LaFleur enters Week 1 against the Chicago Bears with just a 48% approval rating.
Before LaFleur’s debut, let’s take a quick look back at the hiring process. When news broke that a candidate had scheduled an interview with Green Bay, we polled Packers fans to gauge their approval rating on each potential head coach.
LaFleur finished with the second-highest approval rating behind New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. The Titans offensive coordinator reportedly earned the Packers head coaching gig with a single three-hour interview, and he seemed to impress fans the more they got to know his qualifications.
We initially polled fans about LaFleur on December 26th and his approval rating came back at 43 percent – seventh-highest among the 25 candidates we profiled on The Power Sweep’s Packers blog. Only two of the six candidates who polled above LaFleur initially interviewed with Green Bay – McDaniels and former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase.
The other four candidates – Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley were not interviewed by the Packers.
Is the tide turning on Brian Gutekunst?
Despite the poor 2018 season, Brian Gutekunst maintained a solid approval rating that never dipped below 75 percent. Two in-season decisions by Gutekunst were met with rousing support by fans. First was the decision to bolster the Packers’ secondary by signing free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland. After he made his debut against the Bills, Gutekunst’s approval rating hit a season-high 91 percent. The second bump came at the trade deadline, when Green Bay shipped out running back Ty Montgomery to Baltimore and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Washington. After McCarthy’s firing in December, Gutekunst’s approval rating also spiked, though it was reported the decision was ultimately made by team president Mark Murphy.
Gutekunst and the Packers front office made an unprecedented amount of moves this offseason. The team added Ravens executive Milt Hendrickson as a top aide for Gutekunst, signed four high-end free agents, and drafted a pair of well-regarded defensive talents in the first round. Fans concluded 2018 by giving Gutekunst a 76 percent approval rating, and this week’s result showed an approval rating of just 72 percent.
Mike Pettine trusted to run packers defense
It remains to be seen just how much of the support fans have for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is because his name isn’t Dom Capers. Packers fans who voted in our polls remained convinced Pettine was doing an above-average to great job throughout the 2018 season despite finishing in the middle of most team defensive statistics.
The first ugly loss of the season against Detroit soured fans on Pettine slightly, but the Packers’ first shut out since 2010 against the Bills the following week seemed to solidify their opinions on the new coach. As the 2018 season spiraled out of control in October and November, fans steadily remained in support of Pettine. His 94 percent approval rating following the Packers’ 31-12 thrashing of the Miami Dolphins was the highest mark by any individual on record.
Aaron Rodgers is back in the good graces of fans
The spring and summer seasons have seemed to wash the bad taste away that Packers fans had for their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers hovered around a 60 percent approval rating after the team’s primetime loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, dipping slightly after each subsequent loss. He finished the 2018 season with just a 53 percent approval rating – two points shy of his season-low after the December home loss to Arizona.
Perhaps his quiet preseason – Rodgers was one of five starting quarterbacks to play zero snaps during the preseason – has increased fans’ optimism for Rodgers in the Packers’ new Matt LaFleur-led offense. The last time Rodgers’ approval rating was as high as it was this week was following the team’s narrow defeat in Los Angeles that started their precipitous slide.
Join us on Twitter to be a part of the polls!
If you’d like to make your voice heard, please follow us on Twitter – we’re @ThePowerSweep. We post the polls in the middle of the week and always discuss the results on our podcast, Blue 58, in the preview episode before each game.
A special thank you to Jon Meerdink for his work on this project – he was instrumental in collecting and analyzing this data.