Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy was named NFL Coach of the Year on Saturday Night at the NFL Honors Ceremony. Nagy was a strong favorite to win the award following his first season as Bears head coach that saw the team go worst to first and win the NFC North Division title.
Other than leading the Bears back to the playoffs, there were other reasons why he showed throughout the season to be seen as the best coach in 2018.
General manager Ryan Pace hired Nagy as head coach on January 8th as the team completed its head coaching search in just a week. The goal of the hire was to develop second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky into the best QB he could be. Pace’s other goal was to have a coach that had an innovative offensive mindset.
Nagy checked both boxes as Trubisky was named to the Pro-Bowl and the offense scored 24 points or more in 10 games.
Many wondered about Nagy’s experience as he served as a quarterbacks coach the majority of his career in Kansas City. He was the Chiefs offensive coordinator for just five games before being hired by the Bears. The experience was not an issue as Nagy had the Bears ready for each game as the team never looked overmatched or flat at all. Chicago held at least a seven-point lead in every game this season as their biggest loss was only by seven points against the New England Patriots.
Nagy was not afraid to try new plays and formations which confused opposing defense. The team scored one touchdown in which both quarterbacks were lined up in the backfield, defensive end Akiem Hicks scored on a one-yard touchdown run, and backup offensive tackle Bradley Sowell caught a touchdown pass on fourth down. He was able to motivate defensive players by incorporating them on offensive plays.
Several defensive starters lined up in the backfield or out wide on offense this season.
Having his team focused and poised for the big games were another quality trait shown by Nagy this season. The team won four of their five primetime games including a dominating win over the NFC Champions Los Angeles Rams back in week 14. In the team’s last game of the season, they beat the Vikings 24-10 in a meaningless game for them but meant everything for the Vikings.
The season was historic one for Nagy as he accomplished all the goals the Bears had for him when hired. The 12 wins are the most by the team since 2001 and the most by a first-year Bears head coach. Saturday night’s coach of the Year award is the affirmation and acknowledgment by the league of all that was accomplished this season by Nagy.