With only a season and some change on the job, Matt Nagy has emerged as one of the brightest young coaches in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. Along with being a gifted offensive mind, Nagy also has one ritual he takes part in prior to every Bears’ game.
So what is Nagy’s history as a coach, how do the Bears look for the rest of 2019, and what is his pregame ritual?
Matt Nagy’s coaching history
Prior to being named head coach of the Chicago Bears, Nagy was the offensive coordinator in Kansas City under Andy Reid. In 2017, the team ranked sixth overall in points scored and fifth overall in yardage. When Nagy got the nod to serve as the next coach of the Bears, his mentor Reid was effusive in his praise:
“He’ll fit in real well in Chicago. I understand the atmosphere in Chicago. Even though it’s a big city it has a blue collar feel to it… He’s got that Pennsylvania grit to him. He’s not afraid to let his personality show.”
How right Reid was.
The Bears had gone 5-11 in the season prior to Nagy’s hire. The team went 12-4 in his first season on the job. They won the NFC North and qualified for the NFC playoffs. Nagy won the NFL’s highest honor for coaches:
“Bears head coach Matt Nagy won the NFL Coach of the Year award on Saturday. He is the fourth coach in Bears history to win the award, joining Mike Ditka, Dick Jauron and Lovie Smith.”
The team’s season would end in defeat. The Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs. A last-second Cody Parkey 43-yard field goal came up no good. Despite the sour ending, the Bears’ future looks positive under Nagy.
What lies ahead for the Bears?
Through week six of the NFL season, the Bears are 3-2. It’s a competitive division where every team currently has a winning record. The Bears are buoyed by their defense, however. Linebacker Khalil Mack leads a unit that last season was one of the best in the league.
The issue for Matt Nagy and the Bears is their offense. Nagy was brought in due to his capability on the offensive side of the ball, but he’s gotten less than inspiring results out of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky thus far.
Trubisky has shown flashes of solid play but hasn’t been consistent enough to warrant the high first-round pick the team used on him in 2017. They also have yet to see a great return on 2019 draft pick and new starting running back David Montgomery, who has also disappointed.
The Bears obviously need to continue their defensive dominance, but the offensive-minded Nagy will need to put the team in position to score more if they want to contend for a title.
Matt Nagy’s ritual every night before a game
Every team in the NFL has some kind of ritual for how they prepare for game day. In the case of the Bears’ coach, his is rather simple.
Rather than let the hustle and bustle of game-planning get the best of him, he isolates himself. He typically holes up in a hotel room. Nagy mutes his phone, turns off his television, and eliminates any outside distractions. He then types out his team’s call sheet. Here’s how Nagy described his ritual to ESPN.com:
“Everybody’s a little different in how they handle it,” Nagy said. “Some guys will sleep; others will watch a movie; others will go for a walk. And a lot of guys just like to clear their minds. Me, I type out my call sheet. However you do it, just do it, don’t change anything.”
Unlike some crazy superstitions or rituals, Nagy’s make sense. His routine gives him the ability to quietly focus on the game without any outside interference.