The NFL’s winds of change have now blown through the Windy City.
In a long-anticipated move, the Chicago Bears fired head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, the team announced on Monday. Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey is scheduled to hold a news conference Monday at approximately 2 p.m. ET.
The Bears compiled a 6-11 record in his fourth and final season on the sideline. Nagy finishes with a 34-33 record, including two playoff defeats, though the 2021 regular season was the only time he failed to reach .500.
Pace spent seven seasons as Chicago’s GM, overseeing two playoff berths (both wild card losses) and one winning season – in 2018 when the Bears went 12-4.
“The day that I signed up to be the head coach here in Chicago … you’re always understanding what comes with your position,” Nagy said Sunday following a 31-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
“That’s real. That’s life. We know our record’s not good enough. You can’t run from it.”
It’s a disappointing end to a once-promising tenure.
Nagy spent his first 10 seasons in the NFL working on Andy Reid’s staffs, including as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017. He came to Chicago in 2018 and immediately led the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North crown, coaxing a Pro Bowl season out of second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Nagy, who often led the “Club Dub” celebrations in the Chicago locker room, was voted NFL coach of the year.
But that campaign ended with a 16-15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round, kicker Cody Parkey with the infamous “double doink” miss on a 43-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds.
It was a steady descent for Nagy and Co. from there.
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Chicago finished 8-8 in both 2019 and 2020, .500 good enough for another wild-card berth last year, though the Bears weren’t competitive in a 21-9 loss at New Orleans.
The bigger problem was Nagy’s inability to get consistency from Trubisky or an offense that never ranked better than 21st on his watch, Nagy’s teams often heavily reliant on standout defense – the foundation of the 2018 team.
It appeared he might get a stay of execution after the Bears got into position to draft quarterback Justin Fields 11th overall this year. But despite Fields’ standout preseason, Nagy tried to stick with veteran free agent Andy Dalton as the starter as long as he could – much to the objection of Chicago fans – before Fields was promoted to QB1 in Week 3, when he performed dreadfully at Cleveland.
It didn’t help that Fields played arguably his best game on Halloween against the San Francisco 49ers, a game Nagy missed due to COVID-19 protocols.
It wasn’t long after that when “Fire Nagy” chants were hard at Soldier Field, the United Center during a Chicago Bulls game and even at a high school game in which Nagy’s son was a participant.
“There’s a good thing going here right now, and there’s a really good franchise quarterback that’s here that’s going to be good for a long time,” said Nagy, though Fields lost eight of 10 starts, finishing with seven TD passes against 10 interceptions.
The Bears have never fired a coach in the middle of any of their 102 seasons and shot down rumors Nagy would be dismissed after the Thanksgiving game at Detroit.
But those “Fire Nagy” cries have now been accommodated by Chicago brass, which seeks a reset for an organization now 11 years removed from its last playoff victory.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.