Maybe it’s what comes when in the inevitable is near. But Matt Nagy’s hot seat has been so warm for so long that a weird comfort level might’ve set in for the Chicago Bears head coach.
However, his time in Chicago could finally end as early as Monday:
From @NFLGameDay: The #Bears coaching picture is becoming clearer as the losses mount for Matt Nagy, while the #Jaguars have interest in interviewing ex-HCs Doug Pederson and Jim Caldwell for their vacant job. pic.twitter.com/DLTe5ZALxe
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 26, 2021
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport says the Bears could announce a decision regarding a change at head coach on Monday if they lose this afternoon’s game against the Seahawks. Rapoport hints at the league’s new rule regarding in-season interviews of coaching candidates, which starts this coming week. (As for the mention of if he loses today thing, that’s … odd, since the game is completely meaningless.)
If you’ve been watching Bears games this season, you’ve probably grown used to hearing an anecdote about how the franchise has never made an in-season head coach firing. But if ever there was a time to do something different, this is it.
The NFL is now allowing teams to interview head-coaching candidates during the final two weeks of the regular season. Hey, that’s next week! With that in mind, here are some of the fine-print details worth highlighting before we even get to that point:
⇒ Beginning at 7 a.m. CT on Tuesday Dec. 28, teams with an opening can start requesting interviews with coaches on other teams.
⇒ It is worth noting that teams employing said coaches can deny early interviews. That would certainly be petty. But I don’t put it past NFL teams to not be petty this time of year. Heck, it could make for some fun content.
⇒ Once a team successfully navigates those waters, interviews are virtual only at this time.
⇒ As a Bears fan, you’re probably wondering what makes a head coach job “open” for the sake of taking advantage of this opportunity. For Chicago, it would have to fire Matt Nagy before the start of the interview requesting process.
⇒ Who can be interviewed? Assistant coaches, currently employed interim head coaches. Who CAN’T be interviewed? Current head coaches. So, I’m sorry if you were hoping Chicago could check in on Sean Payton. Or if you were dreaming on talking shop with Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, or some other off-the-grid candidate. But, hey, I appreciate your gumption.
Even if we get to this point where the Bears declare a head coach opening, there are still questions worth asking. Who is conducting these interviews? The general manager in a lame-duck year? A team president who claims not to have involvement in football decisions? Team chairman? A consultant? One lucky fan? A council of Jedi masters? The SNL Superfans? Uh … a little help here?
Nevertheless, the NFL has brought us a rule change the Bears should be itching to take advantage of as soon as possible. Think about it. At the heart of the rule is the opportunity to lengthen the hiring window. Let’s be real: the NFL has problems with its hiring process. And not fixing the issues have been a hinderance on the diversity of candidates, as well as teams doing the hiring. But beyond that, there is an obvious advantage to making it known that your team is moving on from its coach. Moreover, there is an additional bonus by doing it sooner, rather than later.
In other words, this isn’t an opportunity the Bears should look past. If other decisions have to be coordinated right alongside it, then so be it.