Bears coach Matt Nagy deserves credit for Chiefs blossoming into juggernaut
Nagy won’t be jealous that he’s not part of it if the Chiefs win Sunday. He’ll be proud. And he should be.
MIAMI — Coach Matt Nagy could probably use a boost after a frustrating season with the Bears, and he’s going to get one Sunday if his old team wins the Super Bowl.
Nagy certainly would never go back in time and remain the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator instead of coaching the Bears. He’d make the same choice 100 times over. But given his ultra-positive personality, he’ll celebrate a victory Sunday rather than lament that he isn’t part of it.
And he should.
Nagy deserves to be proud of the Chiefs. He helped build them. He gets some credit for what they have become. If they win, he’ll surely use their success as a talking point this offseason, noting how fired it up it got him about getting the Bears back in contention.
He is two years removed from being part of coach Andy Reid’s crew, but his passion for the Chiefs is second only to how feels about the Bears. You could hear it in December when he talked about how prolific the Chiefs’ offense has been leading up to his first time coaching against his mentor, Reid.
“I know how they work. You can break world records, but they’re there to win a Super Bowl,” Nagy said. “I know that for a fact. That’s what they want to do.”
It’s such a nothing line — doesn’t every living, breathing soul in the NFL aspire to win a Super Bowl? — but his tone conveyed more than his words did. And he truly does know how the Chiefs work.
Reid was Nagy’s first NFL boss when he hired him as an intern with the Eagles in 2008. The Eagles actually tried to sign Nagy as an emergency quarterback in the preseason the next year, but the NFL voided it to head off the sneakiness of teams stashing potential players on their coaching staffs.
Nagy was 28 when he joined up with Reid, and he spent a decade studying his every move. Reid, 20 years older, had a fatherly relationship with Nagy, and their similarities go beyond scheme.
But it’s not just Reid. Offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, tight ends coach Tom Melvin and offensive line coach Andy Heck have all been with Reid since he took the Chiefs job in 2013. Nagy was the team’s quarterbacks coach the first three seasons before being promoted to offensive coordinator when Doug Pederson, who coached under Reid for seven years, left for the Eagles.
Those are Nagy’s guys. He has been texting them throughout the playoffs, rooting them on as they plowed through the Texans and Titans to get here.
And, equally significant, Nagy guided the initial steps of a quarterback who might become the best ever: Patrick Mahomes. Reid and Mahomes often rave about how much Mahomes benefitted from his rookie season, when he was Alex Smith’s understudy and learned under Nagy and quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka.
“Nagy was amazing with me,” Mahomes said this week.
Reid hammers that point constantly. Last week, he went back to his standard line that Mahomes couldn’t pay Smith enough for the lessons he received in 2017. But when Mahomes hits the jackpot with what should be an NFL-record contract extension this offseason, Nagy should get a cut, too.
“That was a great room to grow up in,” Mahomes said. “Matt Nagy is your coach, Mike Kafka was in there, and then Alex Smith. I mean, come on. That was like the University of Quarterbacks.”
And Nagy was one of its top professors — part of the group that saw in Mahomes what Bears general manager Ryan Pace missed. Now Nagy is wrapped up in his own struggle to bring Mitch Trubisky along, but he should absolutely take a moment to enjoy it if Reid raises the Lombardi Trophy amid a flurry of confetti Sunday.