Chicago’s worst-to-first campaign has Bears fans filled with hope for the future. That wellspring of optimism begins with the presence of their young and inventive figurehead.
Matt Nagy was announced as the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year during Saturday’s NFL Honors award show.
Nagy earned the accolade with 24 votes. Anthony Lynn (10), Frank Reich (8), Andy Reid (5), Pete Carroll (2) and Sean Payton (1) also had votes.
During his first year on the job, the 40-year-old Nagy hushed years of torment for the Bears faithful with a 12-4 campaign that salted away the NFC North before Chicago fell at home to the Eagles in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Nagy’s success was helped by general manager Ryan Pace, who aggressively pulled off a September trade with the Raiders for pass-rusher Khalil Mack. The quarterback-crusher helped flip the switch on an angry, chaos-causing Bears defense that led the team to a 9-1 rampage down the stretch.
The Bears also saw growth from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who accounted for 24 touchdowns and showed moxie as a mobile signal-caller with upside to burn. Another full offseason under Nagy’s watch should help Trubisky take the next step.
Many of his players saw this blue ribbon in the works, with cornerback Prince Amukamara saying last month: “I really hope he gets Coach of the Year. I know he’s not thinking about it but we’re thinking about it for him.”
Not unlike McVay, who nabbed Coach of the Year honors last time around, Nagy weaved immediate change, turning the long-lost Bears — 5-11, 6-10, 3-13 and 5-11 over their previous four campaigns — into a rough-and-tumble operation that punched out the Packers in Week 15 and swept the Vikings and Lions.
Chicago’s season ended in dreadful fashion with Cody Parkey‘s heartbreaking (and partially blocked) botched field goal against Philly, but the Bears were one of the league’s best stories in 2018. With Nagy at the helm, the forecast for one the league’s most historical franchises is brighter than bright.