It’s the end of an era in Chicago.
And more than that, the end of an era muddied by errors in judgment.
Matt Nagy will no longer coach the Chicago Bears. Ryan Pace is no longer calling the shots at the top.
It’s officially official:
The Bears have relieved general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy of their duties.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 10, 2022
And just like that, poof, Pace and Nagy are gone.
Nagy was supposed to be different. His hire was supposed to be a departure from the same old Bears. Heck, Nagy’s hiring *was* different, as the Bears going with the hot-shot offensive coordinator of the moment was a step away from the defensive-leaning coaches they had been hiring in the past. Since Mike Ditka’s firing, Chicago had brought in defensive coordinators Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron, and Lovie Smith, as well as defensive-thinker John Fox as head coaches. Only Nagy and Marc Trestman (gross) were exceptions to the rule.
For what it’s worth, Pace was supposed to be different, too. Hiring a general manger from an organization that had done so well in the draft and free agency was the ticket after the Phil Emery era tanked. Turning to the league’s youngest GM at the time was supposed to bring a breath of fresh air. Not only were the Bears putting new eyes on old problems, they are doing so in a way they hadn’t before. And at the outset, things were heading in the right direction. Pace successfully operated a tear-down of an aging and expensive roster, rebuilt the defense from the ashes of Mel Tucker’s failures, brought a semblance of respectability with the Fox hire, and bringing in Nagy was the move that was set to take things to the next step. But that step turned out to be a tumble.
It is fitting that both Pace and Nagy were shown the door on the same day. Both had an equal hand in the demise of this era of Bears football. Nagy and Pace were both young-ish hot shots with humble beginnings in systems known for finding and developing quarterbacks. Andy Reid gave Nagy a co-sign to the highest regard. Sean Payton spoke glowingly of Pace. And for one year, the Nagy and Pace tandem fit the bill. The Bears went 12-4, won the division, and made the postseason.
But then the other shoe dropped, which set the stage for a mighty fall. The offense never made progress. Depth that was built took a hit as role players left, but were never properly replaced. We saw Mitchell Trubisky, Pace’s first major QB investment, fail to develop. And later saw Nagy and Pace collaborate to bring in Nick Foles and Andy Dalton. Neither was able to operate Nagy’s offense at a functional level. And at the end, we simply never saw the last bastion of hope, Justin Fields, be given a chance to succeed because this coach and his scheme. Too much failure at the most important position in sports from people who should’ve known to do better. It’s as simple as that, my friends.
The time had long come for Nagy to go. Pace, too. Today just made it official.