In case you’ve been living in darkness, the Chicago Bears ran one of the coolest trick plays as time expired in order to tie their Week 13 game against the New York Giants.
Why, yes, I am using this lead-in as an opportunity to re-share the Chi-Town Special and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it:
If that play looked familiar, it’s because it was ripped straight from Super Bowl LII (and technically, snagged from Dowell Loggains’ 2016 playbook) when it was Trey Burton throwing a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles. Now that your memory is jogged, let’s move back into the present day. Because if you notice, the aforementioned Burton is in on the Bears’ version of the Philly Special, but not in the same role he had last time. And if you thought that was a bit odd, you’re not alone.
Then again, it would have made sense for Burton to be a decoy rather than the pass-thrower in this sense, if only to throw the Giants off the scent. As it turns out, the play was supposed to have Burton reprising his role as the pass-thrower when the Bears installed their version in the week leading up to their showdown against the New England Patriots. How clever!?
Unfortunately, a mental block kept Burton from having it in him to be that guy again:
Trey Burton, who pulled off the Philly Special in the Super Bowl, was supposed to be the #Bears player tossing the tying TD pass against the Giants.
— Josh Frydman (@Josh_Frydman) December 6, 2018
Between Burton’s anxieties not allowing him to play a specific role in the play, Matt Nagy’s understanding of Burton’s perspective and making an adjustment, and the overall grasp of the situation, there is a lot to chew on here.
Good on Burton for being willing and able to share and express his anxieties to Coach Nagy in the first place, and again when replaying that story for the Chicago media. And good on Nagy for taking Burton’s feelings into consideration when drawing up, installing, and ultimately tweaking the play. Football locker rooms aren’t always the most accepting places.
We have often discussed the changes in the atmosphere surrounding the Bears. Sure, winning helps. But creating a strong culture is the foundation to building a winning program. This is just one of those examples where something small can grow into something bigger with the right nurturing. Good on everyone involved here.