NFC Championship Game Has A Michigan Flavor
Okay, so the Detroit Lions suck, and outside of MSU, our state colleges struck out in Bowl games. But Michigan does produce good football coaches, and two of them will square off in the NFC title game.
Matt LaFleur, a Mount Pleasant native who played his college ball at Saginaw Valley State, will be coaching the Green Bay Packers in Sunday's showdown with the San Francisco 49ers.
LaFleur has Michigan company on the other side of the ball, as the 49ers Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh grew up in Dearborn and played his college ball at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where he was a tight end from 1998-2001.
Northern Michigan is actually a common link for the two, as LaFleur coached at NMU during the 2006 season.
Former NMU coach Bernie Anderson recalled LaFleur has having a pretty sharp football mind.
"He was a great coach to have on staff," Anderson told TV 6 News in Marquette. "He was always around the office. He asked if you ever needed any additional help. He was very good with the assistant coaches. He was very good with the players. He was fun to have."
Packer players with Michigan connections include Grand Rapids offensive lineman Jared Veldheer from Forest Hills Northern, who played his college ball at Hillsdale, and former Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary.
On San Francisco's roster, Rockford's Joe Staley helps solidify the 49ers offensive line. He also played at Central Michigan. Michigan State's Garrett Celek is also on the Niners line.