The Chicago Bears made the playoffs in 2020, but they weren’t a playoff-caliber team by any stretch of the imagination. The team finished the regular season at 8-8 and only made the postseason because the NFL allowed 14 teams instead of 12.
In the Wild Card Round, the Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints by a final score of 21-9. Much to the chagrin of the fans in the Windy City, Chicago brought back general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. Most Bears supporters were hopeful that Pace and Nagy would be fired since the team has regressed over the past two seasons.
However, the Bears did make one change on the coaching staff after a key member decided to retire. It just so happens that Chicago made NFL history in the process.
Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano retired
Chuck Pagano, who spent the last two years as the Bears’ defensive coordinator, retired from the NFL after Chicago lost to the Saints. The Bears hired Pagano in 2019.
A cancer survivor, Pagano coached the Baltimore Ravens’ defense for one year in 2011 before becoming the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He went 53-43 with the Colts.
The Bears had the fourth-ranked defense in 2019, as the team gave up only 18.6 points per game. Pagano’s group, though, took a step backward in 2020. The Bears were 14th in the NFL in points per game allowed.
After Chuck Pagano decided to retire, the Bears interviewed a handful of candidates to replace him. However, the franchise decided to stay in-house and promote Sean Desai from safeties coach to defensive coordinator.
Sean Desai is the first person of Indian descent to become a coordinator in the NFL
The Bears originally hired Sean Desai in 2013. He spent six seasons as a defensive quality control assistant from 2013-18 before being promoted to safeties coach in 2019.
By being promoted to DC, Desai is the first person of Indian descent to become a coordinator in the NFL. This is a historic move by the Bears, and the franchise should be applauded for it.
“We are very fortunate and excited to promote from within and announce Sean Desai has been named defensive coordinator for our football team,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy said in a statement. “He is a person of high football intelligence, extremely detail-oriented, has a very strong work ethic and I cannot think of someone more deserving to lead our defense. Sean is a family man of high character and the respect he has within our building from coaches, players and staff is unparalleled.”
Desai began his coaching career at Temple in 2006. He was a defensive assistant and special teams coach for five seasons. Desai was also the assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami in 2011 and a running backs coach and special teams coordinator at Boston College in 2012.
Many Bears fans may not know much about Sean Desai, but a former Chicago outside linebacker says the team made the right move by hiring him.
The Bears got a good one in Sean Desai
Former Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho thinks Chicago made a stellar move by promoting Sean Desai to DC. Acho called Desai a “brilliant defensive mind” in one of his Twitter posts.
Desai earned his doctorate in educational administration at Temple in May 2008. The Bears are hopeful he can help the defense get back to its old ways in 2021.