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Bears Don’t Fire Mid-Season, but a 9th Loss Could Change That

Don’t understand the logic behind keeping Matt Nagy as a lame duck? The Bears are part of elite company in that regard.

NFL: AUG 25 Preseason - Chiefs at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Admit it. There’s at least some logic behind the Bears not firing head coach Matt Nagy. Yet.

The Bears are going to have a losing record this year. At 4-8 so far on the season, there isn’t enough optimism in the world to convince any lucid Bears fan they can rip of 5 in a row to finish above .500. Khalil Mack, their top-paid player on defense - and one of the top performing on the entire team - is out for the season. Most premier players on the roster are afflicted with injury as well.

So it won’t come as a surprise when this month, they join the growing list of NFL losers with a ninth loss on the season. It could come as soon as Sunday, when they face a Packers squad clawing for a first-round bye.

When that loss comes, the Chicago Bears are likely to pull the plug on this thing. Nagy will be gone.

Through this entire season, the speculation has been wild as to when Nagy will be let go. It was an assumed fact before a single Bears quarterback had fielded a snap in front of fans. It goes back to January of this year, when a surprisingly not-fired Ryan Pace and not-fired Matt Nagy met the media to confirm they were going to waste another dozen and a half worth of our Sundays going into 2022.

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Leading into a Thanksgiving matchup with the Lions, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer wrote that Matt Nagy would be let go mid-season. While not exactly surprising at face value, the report came on a Tuesday and carried the weight of presuming Nagy would coach the game that Thursday, and would be let go despite the result of the game. It begged the question then and now of why they would make that decision and then let Nagy hang around to coach a game.

Now weeks later, the idea of the Chicago Bears firing their coach mid-season remains a popular tweet at our fingertips.

It’s never happened before, and there’s no reason to avoid talking about it.

Never fired a coach mid-season?

It carries weight to never fire a coach mid-season. The Bears are one of only four NFL teams to never do so, and the only team in the NFC. The shallow list of other NFL teams to never fire a coach mid-season is as follows:

That’s good company to keep. There are eight Super Bowls between those two teams, and with the 1985 Bears that’s roughly one out of every six Super Bowls. The Bears have nine championships in their history, good for nearly 10% of them. When you win championships, you don’t fire your coach.

This also makes the Bears the only team left in the NFC which have never fired a coach mid-season. While the Ravens have only been around for 25 years, the Bears and Steelers have seen enough coaches come and go that it’s impressive they’ve let so many finish the year they were let go.

Fired mid-season?

It’s not uncommon to fire a coach mid-season, as evidenced by the shrinking list of teams to never participate in the ritual. Most recently, the Raiders let Jon Gruden go in the middle of the 2021 season. There were off-field controversies which played a role in that decision, but a 22-31 record over the years since he was hired - for his second ride as coach - certainly made it easy to let him go once he became a public relations chore.

Here’s a chart of other coaches recently fired mid-season, with a sub.-500 record season to justify their seat being hot before they were fired:

Thanks to USA Today for the list of coaches.

The consistent thing about the above list of coaches fired mid-season? Their teams all hired their replacements the following January. These teams didn’t hire mid-season, they fired mid-season and let an interim coach play the lame duck role. Then once the year was finished, they found their next coach in the standard hiring cycle.

So Nagy stays?

Matt Nagy has coached the Bears to seasons of 12-4, 8-8, 8-8 and currently sits at 4-8 for the season. That’s a 32-28 overall record. His decisions have been frustrating at times. Just recently, he rolled over against the Cardinals and punted at the Arizona 49-yard line with 1:21 left in the first half. He was down two scores and it felt like he was accepting that the Bears weren’t going to compete in the matchup.

His play-calling has been questionable at best and he’s fired himself multiple times from duties. He hasn’t inspired a lauded defense to perform at high levels to keep his offense in matchups. That offense has been one of the league’s worst far too many times for a former offensive coordinator to justify.

There are reasons on top of reasons to fire Matt Nagy as head coach of the Chicago Bears. It’s been a known fact for months now that he won’t be the Bears coach next year.

He still hasn’t had a losing season, though.

It’s absurd but has to be stated that 9-8 and a Wild Card win are still on the table for this season. It’s not going to happen, to be sure. However, as of now Matt Nagy has not coached the Bears to a losing season and until he does, the Bears aren’t going against the grain in letting him finish his lame duck season. When the Bears find their 9th loss on the season, it’s perfectly logical to join the other 29 NFL teams who have fired a coach in the middle of a season.

They aren’t going to hire a full-time coach in December. More likely, when Nagy is let go, they’ll let an interim head coach finish the year. Chris Tabor, who served as interim coach during the 49ers game, seems a likely option for this role. Then, when the season comes to an end, they’ll almost certainly find a new head coach to move forward into 2022.

You can disagree with the fact that Nagy is still coach. For some, Nagy should have been fired after last year, and held the door open for many others behind the wheel of the Bears twirl n’ hurl. It’s frustrating to watch a team send a coach out week after week when he’s clearly not the guy they hired him to be.

But if Nagy continues to coach until his ninth loss of a single season, don’t say you don’t understand the logic of it.