Matt Eberflus and the Fight For Necessary Culture Change

The term “culture change” has become a fashionable buzzword when it comes to teams transitioning from one regime to another.

But there is no denying the Chicago Bears are in a place where culture change is more than just football speak. Bears fans don’t seem to be agreeing on much these days. But I think we can all agree building a new identity with a new head coach was at the top of the wish list after Matt Nagy’s firing. Moreover, it is something we’d all like to see in Year 1 of a new regime.

And with that in mind, I am welcoming first-year Head Coach Matt Eberflus with open arms. Especially after hearing what former NFL punter and wildly successful media personality Pat McAfee had to say about the new Bears coach on an appearance on David Kaplan’s Unfiltered program:

Eberflus is a dog. Everybody who came on our show from the Indianapolis Colts that played under Eberflus’ leadership said he’s awesome. Everybody works their ass off. It’s a culture setting type of thing.

This is refreshing commentary from McAfee. Eberflus having that dog in him feels like a good start when it comes to laying the foundation. That McAfee was unprovoked in offering up the culture-changing angle shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

However, I understand if there is pushback against this narrative. After all, there were similar vibes when Nagy took over for John Fox. Then again, it was as true then as it is now. The Bears needed to change things up after kicking Fox to the curb. And early in Nagy’s coaching career, there were notable examples of culture change that brought better days. That it deteriorated in the final year doesn’t take away from what was done at the beginning. If anything, it drives home the importance of not resting on your laurels as a coach. A one-year flip changing culture might look easy, but maintaining it is difficult. And when you don’t actively work to keep it going, the end result is *gestures as the 2021 Bears.*

In the end, the need for culture change in Chicago is real. And I imagine the belief that Eberflus can usher in an era of change is one of the selling points of his hire. Because in addition to putting up a losing record in 2021, it became evident that a change of mindset, perspectives, and ideologies were as necessary as changes to schemes and playbooks. Even though I fear “culture change” will soon take on the form of corporate buzzword speak soon, changing the culture in Chicago is a necessary first step for the Bears as they take their first strides away from the Nagy era.

For more from McAfee on Unfiltered with David Kaplan, check out the video below:

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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