While “Fire Nagy” chants fill even the smallest stadiums in Illinois, the Chicago Bears are doing the right thing by giving their coach at least a chance to fight for his job. Had the Bears lost to the Detroit Lions, that story would be different.
Perhaps it can be argued that a last-second win over the worst team in the league shouldn’t matter, but keep in mind that the Ravens, Browns and Vikings were also taken to the wire by Detroit, with several of them deserving to lose. There’s no such thing as a bad win, especially when draft status is not impacted.
Thanksgiving’s victory isn’t likely going to mean anything, but giving Nagy a chance to dig out of this hole will surely look good to candidates interested being his replacement. (Firing Nagy mid-season, a year after making the playoffs, might turn off some candidates.) Since there would be no actual benefit to firing Nagy right now, why risk eliminating any potential replacements? Especially considering the most interesting rumor involves one of Nagy’s good friends, Ryan Day. While the Bears being “in the hunt” is a punch line today, it might not be a week from now.
Sunday, the Bears face a team from the southwest, at noon, on what is expected to be a cold and rainy day. Nobody likes the term “Bear weather,” but there have been plenty of warm-weather teams who have struggled to deal with it over the years. The Cardinals are very good, but they’re young, wounded and have their own coaching distraction to worry about. Likely working for a contract extension, Kliff Kingsbury didn’t even shoot down the rumors about Oklahoma.
The Cardinals have a top-10 offense and defense, but if ever there was a chance for a massive upset, this is it.
It’s likely going to take nine wins to make the playoffs, and if the Bears win Sunday that won’t be as far-fetched as many believe, especially if the team can get back to running the ball and playing defense like they did earlier in the year. (They’ll also need their young quarterback to replicate his Pittsburgh performance a few times down the stretch.)
The most likely scenario is a loss for the Bears — probably even an ugly one. That coupled with a sure loss to Green Bay next week will seal Nagy’s fate. The Bears will be out of the playoff hunt and can move on from Nagy with time to interview coaches before the end of the season, thanks to a recent rule change.
Fans can hate Nagy all they want, but those looking at the job from a distance will look positively on two playoff appearances in two years. They may see things they think they could do better, but nobody will paint the picture fans have of Nagy matching the incompetence of John Fox and Marc Trestman. They’ll see a coach who made the playoffs with horrible quarterback play and they’ll know how difficult that is to accomplish. They also know what all coaches know: If you don’t win enough, you won’t have a job for long.
Nagy is still a winning coach and has dug out of holes before. The Bears have nothing to lose by giving him the opportunity to do so again.