Sometimes coach Matt Nagy has a speech prepared for the Bears’ meeting at the team hotel Saturday night. Other times, such as this past Saturday, he speaks off the cuff.
Nagy walked to the front of the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Seattle and told a story about his son Tate, a freshman at Lake Forest High School. The two were sharing a ride home from Soldier Field after the Bears’ loss to the Vikings last week when Tate talked about what he was beginning to learn as a young athlete. One of the phrases Tate shared stuck out to Nagy: ‘‘Empty your cup.’’
So that’s what Nagy told his players to do.
‘‘Whatever you do, win, lose or draw, if you just empty your cup — you got a full cup, you got a half-cup and you empty it and we all empty our cups — we’ll have a damn good chance to win the football game,’’ he said moments after the Bears’ 25-24 victory Sunday against the Seahawks in Seattle. ‘‘If you just pour your cup and you don’t empty it, then you’re not giving it all you’ve got.’’
On Monday, it became clear that the Bears will let Nagy empty his cup. Nagy said he’s operating under the assumption he’ll coach the Bears’ final two games of the season.
‘‘We’re continuing to move forward this week and prepare for the Giants,’’ he said.
That’s not a surprise, given that the Bears never have fired a coach during the season. But it’s significant nonetheless, given the timing of this week. Starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, teams that have fired their head coach or informed him he will be fired can begin interviewing assistant coaches around the league for the job.
The Jaguars and Raiders, who fired their coaches during the season, qualify; the Bears do not. It’s still overwhelmingly likely, however, that Nagy will be fired at the end of the season.
The new NFL rule might sound better than it is. The interviews are granted only with the permission of an assistant’s current team and are limited to two hours on Zoom.
Had the Bears taken that route, it might have raised even more questions, including: Who’s doing the interviewing? Is it general manager Ryan Pace, whose job status is perilous (albeit not as much as Nagy’s)? Is it chairman George McCaskey and president/CEO Ted Phillips, both of whom have said for years that they don’t make football decisions?
Last January, McCaskey and Phillips made it clear that Pace and Nagy were tied at the hip. That will be the case — at least for two more weeks.
In July, Nagy said he was putting a quote from Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in all four of his sons’ bedrooms. He referred to it again Monday: ‘‘When you focus on the past, that’s your ego. I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility.’’
‘‘We’re in the present right now,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘I and we all owe that to each other for today and this week with the Giants and finishing out this week on a high note and trying to get a win. And then doing it again in the final game of the season.’’
That’s what happened Sunday.
‘‘This season hasn’t been going the way we wanted it to go or we planned for it to go, but we always know that opportunities are limited when you get to the NFL,’’ running back David Montgomery said after the victory. ‘‘And we made a plan before the game, which was emptying out the cup, giving everything you have. That’s what we did.’’