May 23, 2024


Bears News

A timeline of Matt Nagy’s tenure as Chicago Bears head coach

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy addresses the media at Halas Hall in Lake Forest on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

After four seasons with Matt Nagy in charge, the Bears have fired their head coach.

The organization moved on from both Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace on Monday morning, following the season finale at Minnesota.

Nagy finished his tenure with a 34-31 regular season record and two playoff appearances. He is out after his first losing season, a 6-11 finish during 2021.

How did it get to this point? Here’s a look back on the Matt Nagy era:

Timeline of the Bears’ Matt Nagy era:

Dec. 3, 2017: Amid a four-game losing streak, and a stretch in which his team lost six of seven games, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid handed offensive play calling duties to his offensive coordinator, Matt Nagy. The Chiefs went on to win their final four regular season games and make the postseason with a 10-6 record. In a Wild Card playoff game, they squandered a 21-3 lead against the Tennessee Titans. Nagy later said he called every offensive play in the second half, when the Chiefs netted only 56 yards and failed to score.

While the playoff game was a disappointment, Reid showed the ultimate trust in Nagy down the stretch – and it worked. Already a known commodity in NFL circles, Nagy became an instant head coaching candidate in December of 2017.

Jan. 1, 2018: Bears general manager Ryan Pace fired head coach John Fox after three losing seasons. Pace confirmed he would be heading the search for a new coach. When the Bears hired Fox in 2015, Pace had been on the job for three weeks. That hiring process was heavily aided by chairman George McCaskey, team president Ted Phillips and an outside consultant, Ernie Accorsi. The next hiring would have Pace’s fingerprints all over it.

[Remember when?: Hub Arkush: Bears make right moves by firing John Fox, giving Ryan Pace extension]

Over the following days and weeks, the Bears interviewed a number of candidates for the head coaching job, including Nagy, then-Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, then-Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo, then-Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer, then-Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Jan. 8, 2018: The Bears hired Nagy as the 16th head coach in team history.Nagy had high praise for Trubisky’s potential at quarterback. Nagy provided hope for a new offensive era of Bears football, with fans envisioning the type of offense the Chiefs and Eagles ran under Reid.

[Remember when?: Chicago Bears hire Kansas City Chiefs’ Matt Nagy as next head coach]

Sept. 1, 2018: The Bears traded for outside linebacker Khalil Mack, adding a Pro Bowl pass rusher to an already solid defense.

[Remember when?: Bears expected to trade for Khalil Mack from Raiders]

Sept. 9, 2018: The Packers beat the Bears in Nagy’s first game as head coach, but the Bears defense arrived with an impressive performance against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Nagy paid homage to the Bears’ early history by lining up his offense in the T-formation on the first play of the game.

Sept. 30, 2018: Trubisky threw a career-high six touchdowns passes in a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the first time a Bears quarterback threw at least five touchdown passes since 1949.

Dec. 16, 2018: The Bears defeated the Packers at Soldier Field, clinching their first NFC North Division title since 2010.

Jan. 6, 2019: Kicker Cody Parkey missed a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal – the infamous double-doink – in a Wild Card Round playoff game at Soldier Field against the Eagles.

[Remember when? Bears’ defense comes up short in NFC wild-card game vs. Eagles]

Jan. 9, 2019: The Denver Broncos hired Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as head coach. Two days later, the Bears hired former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano to replace Fangio as defensive coordinator.

Feb. 2, 2019: Nagy earns 2018 NFL Head Coach of the Year honors.

[Remember when?: Bears’ Nagy is 2018 NFL Coach of the Year]

Sept. 5, 2019: The Bears and Packers kicked off the NFL’s 100th season on “Thursday Night Football” from Soldier Field. The Bears offense struggled in a 10-3 loss.

Sept. 29, 2019: Trubisky injured his shoulder against the Minnesota Vikings. With backup Chase Daniel in the game, the Bears held on for a win to improve to 3-1. They went on to lose the next four games, dropping them to 3-5 and severely hurting their playoff hopes.

Oct. 20, 2019: The Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints, even with Saints quarterback Drew Brees out with an injury. As offensive play caller, Nagy called only seven rushing attempts in the game, compared to 54 passing attempts. Days later, Nagy made headlines saying, “I’m not an idiot, I know we have to run more.”

Dec. 31, 2019: Nagy fired offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and numerous other offensive assistant coaches following a disappointing 8-8 season.

Jan. 13, 2020: The Bears hired Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator, hoping to reinvigorate Trubisky’s quarterback play and the Bears run game.

March 12, 2020: The Bears closed their facilities due to the emerging coronavirus pandemic. Other teams made the same decision around that time, and the league later mandated all facilities close, throwing a curveball at the 2020 offseason.

March 31, 2020: Pace traded for former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles. The Bears later announced plans to have Trubisky and Foles compete for the starting quarterback job.

Sept. 4, 2020: Nagy named Trubisky the starting quarterback after a training camp battle with Foles prior to the 2020 season.

Sept. 27, 2020: Nagy pulled Trubisky in the second half in favor of Foles, who led the Bears to their second 17-point comeback in three weeks. Nagy later said Foles would be the starter moving forward.

Oct. 26, 2020: After a 5-1 start to the season, the Bears lost to the Los Angeles Rams on “Monday Night Football,” the first of what became six consecutive losses.

Nov. 13, 2020: Nagy announces that he is giving up offensive play calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.

[Remember when?: Bears head coach Matt Nagy gives up offensive play calling duties]

Nov. 16, 2020: Foles suffered a hip injury in a loss to the Vikings. Trubisky returned to the starting role in the Bears’ next game.

Dec. 6, 2020: The Bears blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead against the Detroit Lions, losing their sixth consecutive game. Some fans called for change after the debacle, but Pace and Nagy kept their jobs through the end of the season.

Jan. 3, 2021: The Bears lost to the Packers, 35-16, but still snuck into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the NFC thanks to some help from the Rams, who beat the Arizona Cardinals that day. It marked their second consecutive 8-8 regular season.

Jan. 10, 2021: Making their third playoff appearance in two seasons, the Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints, 21-9, in a Wild Card round playoff game.

Jan. 13: 2021: George McCaskey and Ted Phillips announced that general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy would remain in their positions for the 2021 season.

March 16, 2021: The Bears signed veteran free agent Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract.

April 29, 2021: Pace traded multiple draft picks to the New York Giants in exchange for the 11th overall pick, which the Bears used to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears needed a top quarterback to fall in the draft and their dream scenario played out perfectly.

Sept. 12, 2021: Andy Dalton started the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. Fields made his first appearance, totaling five snaps, including his first career touchdown run. The Bears lost the game.

Sept. 19, 2021: Dalton injured his knee running out of bounds against the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field. Fields played the entire second half and closed out a Bears victory. He went on to start the next two games.

Oct. 4, 2021: Following two starts from Fields in place of the injured Dalton, Nagy told the media that Dalton would be the starting quarterback when he returns to full health. Just two days later, Nagy reversed course and named Fields the starting quarterback moving forward.

Nov. 21, 2021: The Bears lost their fifth consecutive game, a 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. This one was particularly painful because Fields injured his ribs and the Bears squandered a late lead in the final minutes against a team playing with its backup quarterback.

Nov. 23, 2021: Reporter Mark Konkol of Patch.com published a report indicating that Nagy would be fired at the conclusion of the team’s Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions. The report later proved false. Nagy denied the report outright, but the team never put out a statement from management. Neither general manager Ryan Pace nor chairman George McCaskey addressed the report. McCaskey met with the team on Nov. 24 at the team hotel and reiterated his support for Nagy. The Bears beat the Lions to end their losing streak on Nov. 25.

Dec. 5, 2021: The Bears lost to the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field. It marked their eighth loss in nine games and dropped the team to 4-10 on the season.

Jan. 10, 2021: Even after winning two of the final three games to finish 6-11, the Bears fired both Nagy and Pace. Nagy finished his tenure with a 34-31 regular season record and two playoff appearances.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.