How Bears can interview coaches without firing Nagy


It’s December 27th, at 11:00 a.m., and Matt Nagy is still the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Right now, he’s still scheduled to speak to the media at 12:15 p.m., so it seems unlikely that anything is going to change in the next hour and fifteen minutes.

That news is surprising to some, since Tuesday officially marks the first day that NFL teams with head coaching vacancies next season can begin interviewing candidates to take over the job. It’s a new deadline this season, put in place via an expansion of the Rooney Rule, that many thought could bring about the end of the Bears’ tradition of waiting until the end of the regular season to fire coaches.

So you may be asking yourself, ‘What gives? Why is Nagy still talking about that comeback win against the Seahawks, when it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Bears will be led by a new head coach in 2022?’

The answer probably lies in a clause from the new rule which clarifies what an “open position” is for NFL teams looking for a new coach. Here’s the rule, via an NFL memo shared by Tom Pelissero:

“A Head Coach position is considered ‘open’ if the Head Coach that started the season is no longer employed by the Club or the Head Coach has been given notice that he will no longer be with the Club next season.”


The key is that last bit. It’s entirely possible that the Bears have informed Nagy he won’t be coming back next season, and gave him the option to walk now or finish out the string of games left in the season. It’s entirely possible that Nagy decided to stay instead of taking an early vacay, opting to fight with his guys (and maybe try to get a few wins on tape too).

If that is the case, it’s also entirely possible that we haven’t heard about it yet. It also opens the Bears up to start talking to new head coaching candidates on Tuesday. Not quite a “have your cake and eat it too” scenario, since there are obvious downsides for each party. Nagy misses out on family time, and the Bears miss out on having a leader focused 100% on the growth of the team. But it’s a scenario that could work for each party, too.

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