The Chicago Bears fired head coach Matt Nagy after the 2021 season, but he is still going to be in Soldier Field for the start of the 2022 campaign.
Nagy is a senior offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, who travel to Chicago as the opponent for the Bears' preseason opener on Saturday. He said he isn't sure how he will feel as a visitor, per Pete Sweeney of SB Nation:
"No. 1, what I have to do: it's my professional job to make sure I step back and make sure it's about we and not me. I mean that when I say that. But that's hard sometimes. And so when you get there, I'm so used to being on the home side, right? On the home sideline in the home locker room coming out, it's different.
"I don't know how I'll feel when I get out there. But I'm here for this team and these guys. I built great relationships with everyone there—but it's the preseason, too, so we're going to go out there and have some fun."
Nagy is in a familiar place considering he was a quarterbacks coach and then the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs from 2013 through 2017 before Chicago hired him as a head coach.
He also gets to work with arguably the biggest what-if in Bears' franchise history in Patrick Mahomes, whom Chicago passed on to select Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft. In an alternate history, Nagy's tenure in the Windy City likely would have gone much better if Mahomes were under center.
Things started off swimmingly for Nagy and the Bears, as he won the AP Coach of the Year award while leading a 12-4 NFC North champion team in his first season. However, a stunning loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round that ended with Cody Parkey's infamous "double doink" field goal kick-started a downward trend.
Chicago went 22-27 without a winning record during the next three seasons and fired Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace after the 2021 campaign.
It certainly didn't help Nagy's standing that he was hired with an offensive background and was on the sidelines as Trubisky failed to live up to the expectations that came with his draft positioning.
Poor quarterback play has historically been an issue for the Bears, and that was no different during the Nagy era.
Chicago is in something of a transition period with first-year general manager Ryan Poles and first-year head coach Matt Eberflus, and their ability to get the most out of quarterback Justin Fields and surround him with capable weapons in the coming years will surely determine their overall success level as well.
Things didn't work out for Nagy, and he will have a first-person view of the early stages of the next attempt to build a winner in Chicago on Saturday.