Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy was voted AP NFL Coach of the Year on Friday, becoming the first Bears’ head coach to do it in 13 seasons.
The last time Chicago Bears fans were as unified behind a head coach as they are behind Matt Nagy was 2012, the year Lovie Smith was fired after a 10-6. Not that everyone liked Lovie, but at least somebody did. That was also the last time the Bears finished a season above .500, which they will finally do again this year.
Whether it was Marc Trestman or John Fox, incompetent head coaches and losing seasons have been a staple of Bears football for the last few years leading up to this season. Needless to say, the change is very welcome and Nagy was recognized for his efforts when he was recently voted by a panel of AP football writers as coach of the year.
The Bears are 7th in the NFL in points per game this season. The last time they were top ten was 2013. The defense has 25 interceptions through 14 games, more than they’ve had in the last three seasons combined. This team might be the best Bears team we’ve seen since the 2007 NFC Championship winning team, and Nagy is a huge reason why.
Six teams in the NFL currently have first-year non-interim head coaches. Among those teams, the Bears are first in these categories: overall record, total defense, rushing yards allowed, yards per play allowed, turnover differential, and points per game.
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When Nagy speaks, this team listens. Every week, Bears players have glowing compliments for the way Coach Nagy genuinely cares about each and every player on the team. Most of all, he lets his guys have fun. Video after video rolls out of the Bears’ social media accounts showing Nagy celebrating wins with the team in the locker room.
Obviously, you can’t empirically measure the emotional impact that Nagy has on this Bears team. However, you’re hard pressed to remember the last time the Bears played with such intensity and heart.
I don’t mean to discount important free agent additions like Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Khalil Mack. Mack, in particular, has elevated this Bears defense to its dominant position. But there is no question that this team wouldn’t have the unprecedented success they’ve had this season without Coach Nagy at the helm.