Matt Nagy came highly recommended when the Chicago Bears hired him back in January. His track record as an offensive mind and quarterback specialist were hard to match. He was a student of Andy Reid, one of the best head coach molders in the NFL. Players love him and respect him. There weren’t many reasons to dislike the hire.
Well, this is football. People always find a way. One of the biggest concerns about Nagy had to do with the final game he coached for the Kansas City Chiefs. After his offense opened up with 21 points in the first half, it went completely silent in the second. This allowed the Tennessee Titans to rally for a stunning 22-21 comeback win.
Nagy took a lot of heat for that failure and didn’t shy away from it. He took full responsibility. Then again this isn’t the first time the 39-year old has had to endure a brutal defeat. In fact, they seem to characterize much of his football career and have a strange habit of propelling him higher and higher each time.
Matt Nagy doesn’t wilt from heartbreak, he thrives from it
Maybe someone should ask whether Nagy is a bit of a masochist because he sure does seem to show signs of enjoying pain. At least that’s what happens when viewing his history in football. He sat down to speak with Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times about how he’s grown as a person and a football man. One thing that seemed to characterize his life: brutal losses.
“In Nagy’s two seasons as the star quarterback for Manheim Central, the Barons went 26-2. Their two losses came in the playoffs against the same team.
‘‘Berwick,’’ Nagy said.
The details of those defeats against Berwick, a state powerhouse, remain vivid. The emotions haven’t faded.
‘‘One was in front of 20,000 on an interception throw to win the game,’’ Nagy said of his own pass.
‘‘The other one was, we were winning 17-0 against the No. 1 team in the country in USA Today, and we lost 18-17.’’
Nagy called them devastating.
‘‘I can still remember walking off the field with all my buddies and knowing that’s the last time you’re going to be together,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And you’re going to move on.’’
But Nagy didn’t. From Delaware to the Arena Football League to a brief career in real estate to the Eagles, Chiefs and finally the Bears, those losses accompanied him. A loss to Georgia Southern in the Division I-AA semifinals in his final season at Delaware was added to the mix, too.”
That wasn’t it either. Nagy was the starting quarterback for the Georgia Force in the Arena League in 2005. He took his team to Arena Bowl XIX that years. He accounted for five touchdowns in that game including three in a furious fourth quarter. Sadly it wasn’t enough as Georgia fell 51-48 in the closing seconds. Two years later he lost a second Arena Bowl as quarterback of the Columbus Destroyers.
Yet if one follows the trend, every brutal defeat spurred him on
The two crushing losses in high school didn’t stop him from going to Delaware where he broke all the school’s passing records. There he suffered another agonizing loss. Again he came back stronger than ever, carving out a highly successful career in the Arena League that included taking two different teams to the championship game. Those losses and the league’s eventual folding should’ve ended his career, right?
Nope. He took a chance on an internship with the Philadelphia Eagles and thrived. Then he loses in crushing fashion on a national stage to the Titans. A couple weeks later he’s being ushered in as head coach of the Chicago Bears. It truly does seem like each defeat he suffers through seems to toughen him up and make him better. More determined to reach the heights nobody thinks he can.
It feels like that’s exactly the sort of person the Bears want and need running the show.