The Chiefs are the nightmare that won’t go away for the Bears

The presence of Patrick Mahomes and Matt Nagy at the Super Bowl ensures that an unpleasant history keeps getting brought up.

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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes talking to the media on Wednesday.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks to the media Wednesday prior to Super Bowl LVII.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Chiefs were born in 1963, when owner Lamar Hunt moved the Dallas Texans to Kansas City and changed the team’s name. I’m guessing the Bears curse the day that happened and wish a pox on all of Hunt’s descendants.

The Chiefs are in the Super Bowl again. The Bears are not again.

Every time the Chiefs get into the big game, the McCaskey family, which owns the Bears, can count on a boatload of stories about how their franchise decided not to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Sunday will be Mahomes’ third Super Bowl in the last four seasons. He’ll face the Eagles this time.

Some will argue that if the media didn’t keep bringing up the Bears’ awful decision to pass on Mahomes, nobody would be talking about it six years later. But that’s not how life works. If someone stops talking about a massive sinkhole alongside a four-lane highway, the sinkhole doesn’t stop being a sinkhole.

This Super Bowl is about more than the Bears’ franchise-altering decision to trade up one spot to take Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft. It’s about Matt Nagy, too. The former Bears head coach is the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach, meaning the McCaskeys are dealing with a double dose of bad memories. The family hired Nagy before the 2018 season and fired him after the 2021 season.

In the eyes of some fans, Nagy’s biggest sins were a playbook from hell and Trubisky’s lack of development. It was true that some of the plays looked as though they were drawn up during one of Aaron Rodgers’ psychedelic trips. But the play-calling wasn’t the main culprit; Trubisky was. If you watched him with the Steelers this season, you know that to be true.

The Bears have to listen to all this being dredged up for the millionth time. Why, they ask themselves, couldn’t the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach be somebody named John Smith? Given the McCaskeys’ track record on hiring coaches, the amazing thing is that the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach isn’t named Marc Trestman.

The good news for the Bears and their fans is that, no matter how dominant Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense is Sunday, Nagy will get very little praise for it. Everyone knows head coach Andy Reid is also the unofficial offensive coordinator. If there’s any applause left over, it will go to offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. There might be one pat on the back for Nagy.

If the Chiefs lose, it will be a different story, especially if Mahomes plays poorly. You’ll need dental records to identify Nagy after social media is done with him. It’s funny how Bears fans don’t want Trubisky’s stay in Chicago to be rehashed, but they’re more than willing to bring up Nagy’s failings.

Part of that has to do with Justin Fields’ struggles under Nagy in 2021 and his success under head coach Matt Eberflus in 2022. Nagy looked at Fields as a passing quarterback, which is what he’s going to have to evolve into to succeed in the NFL. Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy looked at Fields’ running ability and saw that as the best way for the Bears to be competitive on offense. Fields rushed for 1,143 yards, a franchise record for a quarterback. He was thrilling. How often do you say that about someone on a three-victory team?

But he’s not Mahomes. Sorry to bring the conversation back to that. I would have moved on from Mahomes a long time ago if the Bears had been able to. But they’ve gone 42-56 since the Mahomes/Trubisky decision by former general manager Ryan Pace. That doesn’t count the two wild-card losses during that span, including the infamous double-doink missed field goal in January 2019 that hung over the franchise like a cloud. It came against the Eagles, who had won the Super Bowl the season before and who, if I haven’t mentioned it, are in the Super Bowl again.

The Bears? They’re in rebuild mode, which is why Robert Quinn, their best pass rusher in 2021, will be playing for the Eagles on Sunday, thanks to a trade in October.

If the McCaskeys were directing media coverage this week, there would be stories about the chances of Chicago hosting a Super Bowl if the team moves to a new stadium in Arlington Heights. Less talk about Mahomes and more talk about money. Less about the past and more about the future. Unless you want to talk about the Bears’ last Super Bowl title in January 1986. Or other ancient history.

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