Bears fire head coach Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace

A day after concluding a six-win campaign in his fourth season, Matt Nagy was fired as head coach of the Chicago Bears, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

In the autumn of 2018, Nagy was piloting a Bears turnaround, reversing the course of the storied franchise in his first season at the helm. The Bears were headed for the playoffs and he was headed for recognition as the AP NFL Coach of the Year. The best of times came quickly for Nagy, and they were gone just as suddenly.

Following the worst of his four seasons as Bears head coach, Nagy was let go Monday.

Chicago also fired general manager Ryan Pace, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported. The team later announced both departures.

Their dismissals come following a loss on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Nagy’s tenure comes to a close with a 34-31 record over four seasons, the last of which a disappointing 6-11 2021 campaign that leaves the Bears likely bracing for myriad changes.

Nagy, 43, captained Chicago to two playoff appearances, but had an 0-2 mark in the postseason and was never able to follow up the excitement of the 2018 regular season.

Pace, 44, began in his post in 2015 and oversaw the hiring of John Fox as head coach. Pace was in charge when the Bears traded up to select Mitchell Trubisky in 2017, replaced Fox with Nagy and traded for star pass rusher Khalil Mack in 2018, and drafted another potential franchise quarterback in Justin Fields in 2021.

Having served as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2017, Nagy was hired by the Bears ahead of the 2018 season as the product of the Andy Reid coaching tree and looked on to kindle a sputtering offense. He found some success as a 40-year-old rookie head coach on the offensive side of things, but it was a dominant, Mack-led defense that truly paved the way to a 12-4 season in which Chicago won the NFC North.

Nagy’s 2018 offense was the No. 9 scoring offense in the NFL. The follow-up to that showing was a freefall that saw the Bears drop to the No. 29 scoring offense in 2019, No. 21 in 2020 and No. 28 this season heading into Week 18.

While that 2018 campaign was viewed by a hopeful many as the start of something special, it was the beginning of the end, as the Bears became a flash in the NFC North pan amid what has become standard Green Bay Packers dominance.

That 2018 run ended in the NFC Wild Card Round in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, best remembered for kicker Cody Parkey’s “Double Doink” missed field goal.

In retrospect, things began to spiral for Nagy thereafter.

The 2019 offseason was marked by a circus-like kicker competition to find Parkey’s replacement.

While Trubisky showed some promise and garnered a Pro Bowl nod in his second season and first with Nagy, his mostly sub-par play continued the Bears’ franchise-long search of a viable franchise quarterback.

After Trubisky struggled through an 8-8 2019 campaign in which Nagy’s play-calling began to come under heavy scrutiny, the Bears pulled off an offseason trade for Nick Foles. It did nothing to cure the team’s offensive ills.

The quarterback problems persisted through another 8-8 2020 season that came to a close after the Bears backed their way into the postseason and were routed by the New Orleans Saints in another first-round cameo.

While Trubisky ventured to Buffalo in the offseason, the Bears attempted to pull off a trade for Seattle Seahawks superstar QB Russell Wilson, but, like all matters related to QBs in Chi-Town, fell short.

They settled for Andy Dalton on a one-year deal and then breathed life into the fan base by trading up to select the Ohio State product Fields at No. 12 overall.

Dalton, Fields and Foles each started in 2021, but the Bears’ offense was listless, having scored 30 points just once in the season.

Amid a five-game losing streak heading into Thanksgiving, the rumor mill swirled on overdrive that Nagy’s days in the Second City were numbered. However, the Bears won and Nagy remained. The club stuck with Nagy through the end, having continued on as never having let a coach go during a season.

While Nagy and Pace being ousted were hardly shocking turn of events, it does little to bring clarity to the franchise’s future.

Mack was lost for the season with a foot injury. Wide receiver Allen Robinson was playing on the franchise tag and having his worst season in Chicago before being sidelined by an injury. The offensive line remains an issue. The defense has fallen from its pedestal as a dominant entity.

Nagy and Pace are gone now, but the problems and questions remain for Chicago as the pair’s departure might well have been the first bricks removed in a franchise rebuild.

In the autumn of 2018, it appeared as if the best and brightest days were ahead for Nagy, Pace and the Bears. It was hardly a foreshadowing, but rather a flash of success prior to one of the NFL’s most storied franchises beginning yet another chapter.

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