A favorite analogy in this situation would be an iceberg. Most people only see what’s on the surface. They don’t realize that most of the berg is hidden beneath the ocean waters. This fits the description of the coaching tree Matt Nagy just came from. Chicago Bears fans think they have an idea of its depth when in reality they have no clue.
By this point, the story is common knowledge. Nagy was hired as an assistant by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008. He’d just retired as a quarterback from the Arena League and was going into real estate. He took the job and since then became a protege of then-Eagles head coach Andy Reid. Nagy followed him to Kansas City, taking over as Chiefs quarterbacks coach. He soon became offensive coordinator in 2016.
Two years later he’s running the show in Chicago. He becomes the latest in a long line of former Reid assistants to get their own team. The common trend has been success. John Harbaugh and Doug Pederson have Super Bowl rings. Ron Rivera went to a Super Bowl. Brad Childress, Sean McDermott, and Leslie Frazier led their teams to the playoffs.
The amazing part is the depth of this tree only starts with Reid.
Matt Nagy comes from roots that go back much further than Andy Reid
Make no mistake. Nagy is a direct project of Reid himself. However, this overlooks the place Reid came from. How he was able to become a great coach. Many of the lessons he’s taught other coaches were passed from some pretty spectacular NFL coaching legacies. It begins with Mike Holmgren.
Most Bears fans know the name well. Holmgren turned the Green Bay Packers into a powerhouse during the 1990s, winning a Super Bowl in the process. Reid was his offensive line and quarterbacks coach from 1992 to 1998. Holmgren also produced some future stud head coaches including Jon Gruden who won a championship in 2002 with Tampa Bay.
Yet it goes even deeper than that. Holmgren was a personal project of another coach. Some may have heard of him. His name was Bill Walsh. Considered by many to be one of the greatest in NFL history, the architect of the San Francisco 49ers dynasty hired Holmgren as an assistant in 1986.
One could stop right there and be blown away. Amazingly it still goes even deeper. Walsh himself was raised into the NFL coaching ranks by Cleveland Browns patriarch Paul Brown. The seven-time champion is considered by many to still be the benchmark by which other coaches are measured.
So to review, the coaching line that Nagy comes from features two all-time greats in Brown and Walsh. A Super Bowl champion in Holmgren and of course Reid himself, who is no slouch. This should set the level of expectation for him and this Bears team just a little bit higher moving forward. It’s quite the legacy to live up to.