The play calling we have seen from Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has been a lot of things to a lot of different people. Words such as creative, clever, innovative, inventive, inventive, inspiring, and refreshing have been among the many sued to properly describe this brave new world of offensive football the Bears have embarked on in 2018.
One word I didn’t expect to hear, however, was arrogant.
Nagy’s play-calling in the Bears’ 24-17 win against the Packers on Sunday rubbed Green Bay play-by-play voice Wayne Larrivee the wrong way on Sunday. Specifically, two calls really seemed to grind Larrivee’s gears.
It started with the Bears’ fake punt on 4th-and-short near midfield that was snuffed out by the Packers, resulted in a turnover on downs, and ultimately a scoring drive in which Green Bay was able to tie the game. When asked about what he found to be arrogant about the decision, Larrivee had an explanation while visiting the McNeil and Parkins Show on 670 The Score: “The call. Where he was doing it. When he was doing it during the game,” Larrivee told the show. “Why would he do that when he has a defense in total complete control?”
You can listen to the full interview below:
So while that miscalculation on Nagy’s part rubbed Larrivee the wrong way, he was most demonstrative with his words on a third-down play later in the game where the Bears lined up in a T-Formation with Tarik Cohen getting the snap as a Wildcat quarterback. Cohen mishandled the ball when he met fellow running back Jordan Howard at the mesh point of a hand-off and fumbled it away. If you were tuned into the Packers radio call, you could probably warm yourself on a cold winter night from the heat being let out by Larrivee when the turnover occurred.
“More arrogance by Matt Nagy. A trick play. All the tricks in the world and they’re foiling the Bears. Dean Lowry makes the fumble recovery. Now if they can just take it and shove it up you-know-where, wow, if the Packers can make them pay on this…”
Easy, bruh. It’s not that serious.
Really, it isn’t. This is who Matt Nagy is and was in Kansas City. This is who the Bears are now and figure to be moving forward. The play calling is probably going to offend old-school football fans who would throw a hearty celebration if the game went back to the three yards and a cloud of dust style of play. But as the game has evolved, so have the minds of head coaches, offensive play-callers, and offensive minds in general. The wrinkles can come at any point, in any situation, and at any time of the game. After all, that is what is supposed to make it fun when it actually happens.
It’s about time folks who watch the Bears – whether it’s from a fan or media perspective – to realize there is a new normal in town. The John Fox/Dowell Loggains run-run-pass-punt days are a thing of the past. Deal with it.
To be fair, Larrivee said he thinks Nagy is doing “a nice job” with the Bears. There’s no denying that. And you can’t say Larrivee isn’t one of the most iconic voices in Chicago sports history. I mean, we’re talking about a broadcaster who was on the mic for the Bears’ lone Super Bowl win and called games during the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty during the 1990s. That he might be a little bit out of touch (or at minimum, on the other side of the ledger) when it comes to football decision-making isn’t that big of a deal. Besides, how much fun would this be if we agreed on everything? There is no fun in that!
With that being said, all of us (myself included) need to accept that change is here and will be thrilling, exciting, and (most importantly) productive more often than not. Because for every fumbled Wildcat hand-off, Bears fans can point to an Oompa Loompa, Freezer Left, Santa’s Sleigh, or something else on the aggressive side of the play-call sheet that has been successful. And while Larrivee correctly points out Nagy’s short-comings against the Titans on Wild-Card Weekend last January, the counter to that is highlighting how that same coach has resurrected a Bears franchise wallowing in four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North to winning the division in his first year.
How is that for a dagger?