Update: The Bears hired Matt Nagy as their new head coach Monday, Jan. 8. The following story was originally published on Jan. 6.
A two-minute drive on the NFL’s playoff stage surely piqued the Bears’ interest.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith looked great in dissecting the Titans’ defense, completing throws to wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Tyreek Hill and running back Charcandrick West.
Smith’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Robinson with eight seconds left in the second quarter gave the Chiefs a 21-3 lead at halftime of their wild-card matchup against the Titans.
At that point, Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy never looked better. His offense — the one he runs with coach Andy Reid — was beating a Titans defense run by legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
And then the Chiefs blew it.
The Titans prevailed in a stunning 22-21 upset Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs’ offense — which lost Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce to a concussion during their last scoring drive of the first half — didn’t score in the second half.
So what does this mean for the Bears?
If the Bears love Nagy, and he loves them, they can hire him. Nothing prevents it. The Bears will interview Nagy for their head-coaching opening Sunday. NFL rules prohibited the Bears from interviewing Nagy until after the Chiefs played the Titans.
Nagy will be the Bears’ sixth interview after Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo (Saturday), Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (Friday night), Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur (Friday morning), Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards (Thursday) and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio (Wednesday).
Teams can’t hire a coach from a playoff team until that team’s season ends. Of those — not including Fangio, of course — on the Bears’ interview list, Nagy is the only one out of the playoffs.
This puts the Bears in an interesting spot. Nagy’s immediate availability is a test of their patience.
Nagy and DeFilippo, both 39, are intriguing candidates. They’re young offensive minds with personalities that seem to mesh well with Bears general manager Ryan Pace’s.
The Bears can’t speak with DeFilippo again until the Eagles are eliminated from the playoffs or during the week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, should the Eagles advance that far.
If Pace opts to involve quarterback Mitch Trubisky more in the interview process with Nagy — then with DeFilippo — the Bears’ timeline for hiring a new coach is further delayed. The Chiefs were thought to be high on Trubisky in last year’s draft.
It’s OK to let things play out. Making the right hire is what’s important, not the swiftness of it.
But complicating matters for the Bears is that Nagy also is reportedly meeting with the Colts and their general manager, Chris Ballard. He knows Nagy well as the Chiefs’ former director of football operations and director of player personnel.
The Bears will have more questions to ask Nagy because they have more to learn about him.
His entire NFL coaching career has been spent under Reid. A former quarterback at Delaware, Nagy began as an intern in 2008 for Reid’s Eagles. Nagy then followed Reid to the Chiefs in 2013. He was the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator last season.
Nagy’s status improved when Reid handed him the play-calling duties in Week 13 against the Jets. The Chiefs closed out the regular season by winning four of their last five games before the loss to the Titans ended their season.
It was a letdown performance on a big stage that the Bears surely will inquire about during their interview with Nagy.
Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.