Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has laid down the gauntlet to fans who will be at Sunday’s playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles:
#Bears Matt Nagy has a message for the team's fans heading into Sunday's playoff game against the Eagles: "This is where it gets real. It's important for our fans to get as crazy as they've ever been. That's my challenge to them." pic.twitter.com/vj134CkuFj
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) December 31, 2018
In away, it’s adorable (in a folksy kind of way) that a professional football team’s head coach is imploring fans to bring the noise. You expect that on the high school and college levels, but not from the guys in the NFL. But as we learned in 2018, Nagy isn’t your run-of-the-mill NFL head coach. And I’ll admit that it’s kind of hokey, but if the guy with “BE YOU” on his play card is staying true to his roots, then I don’t see a problem with it.
But how do you get 60,000 fans on the same page and pulling from the same side of the rope? Well, backup quarterback Chase Daniel offered up a suggestion a few weeks ago and
— Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) December 21, 2018
Shoutout to Greg Braggs Jr. for putting this on our radar. And kudos to David Chasanov for putting together a visual (and audial) representation:
— David Chasanov (@AllThatChazz1) January 1, 2019
To be fair, this isn’t the first time Nagy has nudged fans. In fact, it’s been a common theme throughout the season. A cynic might roll his eyes at Nagy’s tactics, but I’m trying to look at things with a clean slate in the early stages of the new year. So I think of it like this:
- The Bears turned off some fans (that’s putting it lightly) during a four-year stretch where the team went 19-45 and finished in last place each year. Simply put, there wasn’t a lot to root for between the end of the Marc Trestman tenure of discombobulation and John Fox’s tenuous three-year run. Hard to build a home-field advantage when you’re losing home games at a dizzying rate.
- From there, Bears fans showed their displeasure with their team’s situation with waves of late-season no-shows at the end of the last two years of the Fox regime. Money talks, and so do empty seats. Rows and rows of seats without butts in them had Bears fans making it clear that work needed to be done to re-gain their love, attention, and ultimately, their almighty dollar.
- Message received! Since the start of the 2018 calendar year, the Bears have turned things around. Leading the way is a head coach who is unlike the two who preceded him. Part of said coach’s shtick has been extending an olive branch to fans by connecting via press conferences (I’ve lost track of how many post-game pressers at home that start with Nagy thanking fans for their support and energy at the game) and some of the viral stuff we’ve seen via Bears social media outlets.
So as far as I’m concerned, this is all good stuff. Whether anyone would admit to it or not, the Bears needed positive energy from their head coach in order to build a bridge to fans who had become displeased with what was happening with their favorite team. To this point, they’ve received a heck of a return on investment. The Bears put together a 12-win, division-championship team in 2018 that went 7-1 in home games. And in turn, the fans showed up with their support. That’s how it is supposed to work.
Moving forward, the Bears need to continue to reciprocate from their end. I reckon this video will help:
The home-field advantages other teams enjoy weren’t built overnight. In an ideal world, we’ll look back a few years from now and point at this being the starting point for the turnaround where Soldier Field joins other stadiums as a place with a unique home-field edge. BOOM.