The Chicago Bears' Road to the Playoffs Begins Tonight in Canton

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The Chicago Bears’ Road to the Playoffs Begins Tonight in Canton

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears went 5-11 last year and have a .296 winning percentage since the start of the 2014 season. On the surface, it appears as if the odds are stacked against the Bears breaking their postseason drought that is currently going on seven years (and counting).

And yet, there’s a glimmer of hope:

Not only have the Bears made the postseason in each of the last three season in which they’ve played the Hall of Fame Game, like they will tonight, they’ve done so in seasons in which they missed the playoffs the year before. Trippy (okay, okay, maybe that last part is simply because they miss the playoffs a lot anyway).

The odds (and the fact that they play in a division featuring three Pro Bowl quarterbacks) might be working against them, but maybe history hints that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel called hope. And it all starts with a new head coach.

Chicago started the 2018 calendar year by firing John Fox, moving quickly through a rapid-fire interview process, and hiring Matt Nagy. It will take a good deal of hard work to get the Bears on the right track, but Andy Reid disciples are generally well-regarded as head coaches once they leave the nest, and Chicago is rolling the dice on one whom Reid said was the most ready to take on that challenge.

Since the start of the 2013 season, nine first-year coaches have led their teams to the playoffs in their first season. That group includes three who were hired in 2017. It’s also worth noting that 10 of the 35 coaches who have been hired since the start of the 2014 season won at least 10 games in Year 1.

Gary Kubiak went 12-4 in his first year with the Broncos in 2015, which is the best record for a first-year coach since 2013. However, Kubiak inherited a championship-caliber club upon arrival – something Nagy doesn’t really have right now. At least there are eight examples of coaches inheriting losing teams and winning 10+ games in the first year of the new regime.

On the flip side, there have been 13 coaches who lost 10+ games in their first season at the helm as a head coach.

At first blush, there probably isn’t going to be much to take from tonight’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game against the Baltimore Ravens. Starters aren’t expected to play much, if at all. And while we would love if Nagy dipped into his bag of tricks to get the 2018 football season started on the right foot, we know how vanilla preseason offenses can look, so we’re not holding our breath on that one. Still, today marks the dawn of a new day in Bears football … even if it’s just the preseason.

Go get ’em, coach. History is on your side.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.