Why Gary Fencik appreciates Matt Nagy: He ‘respects that the fans are not idiots’

USA Today

Why Gary Fencik appreciates Matt Nagy: He ‘respects that the fans are not idiots’

Gary Fencik won a Super Bowl for his hometown team and had a clause written into his final contract that gave him the option of buying four Bears season tickets after he retired. Few have the perspective Fencik does, then, as a former player and now a fan. 

And Fencik, the fan, appreciates a specific aspect of how Matt Nagy carries himself. 

“What I find refreshing — and I liked John Fox — but John Fox didn’t treat fans with respect,” Fencik said. “And I’m a fan, and I’m a season ticket holder. And it was kind of like this, hey, you don’t deserve to know, or I’m not going to give you a lot of information. 

“And what I really like about Matt is, I think he recognizes and respects that the fans are not idiots. And that he’s giving very respectful responses — thoughtful, not trying to give away secrets — but I also, when you read the paper or hear or see on TV, he’s trying to keep it light. It’s a long, grueling season.”

Fox had a reputation as a personable guy away from the cameras, but in front of them he was intentionally evasive, bland and, at times, condescending (he’s now a TV analyst for ESPN). It was striking how different Nagy’s approach is to addressing the media — and, through it, the fanbase — from his first press conference in Chicago, in which he was open, honest, thoughtful and insightful only a few days after he suffered a crushing playoff loss as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. 

Nagy, of course, isn’t going to reveal any trade secrets or playbook specifics in public, nor is he going to throw players under the bus. But his approach to press conferences and casual interactions with media and fans is refreshing — he comes across as engaging, respectful and genuine, qualities which fans (like Fencik) have come to appreciate. 

And Fencik, the former player, sees those qualities translate to how he manages his team and calls plays, even when they’re as outlandish at “Santa’s Sleigh” or “Willy Wonka.” 

“They’re trying to be as imaginative and creative as they can be with respect,” Fencik said. “There are a lot of great defenses that they’re facing. I’ve been impressed just seeing the variety of different plays. Sometimes you’re like ‘wow, really, you really went for that.’ But I think that’s it. It’s a level of seriousness. You know the challenge, you know the frustration of the fans. There’s respect. And yet, (he) was above and beyond anyone’s expectations last year.”

Bears move ahead of Saints in latest Super Bowl odds

Bears move ahead of Saints in latest Super Bowl odds

Bears fans and NFL analysts may have cooled on Chicago's chances of winning Super Bowl 54, but after two weeks of uninspiring offense and a 1-1 record, their Super Bowl odds have actually improved.

The Bears entered Week 2 with 20:1 odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February. After Eddy Pineiro's game-winner against the Broncos Sunday, Chicago's odds are now 16:1.

Granted, injuries around the NFL have played a part -- a big part -- in the Bears' jump. Most notably, the Saints' loss of Drew Brees for at least six weeks following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his throwing thumb dropped New Orleans from 8:1 down to 20:1.

Other teams who began Week 2 with better Super Bowl odds than the Bears only to sink below them at its conclusion are the Chargers (20:1) and Vikings (20:1).

As for the rest of the NFC North? The Packers' odds improved from 16:1 to 12:1, while the Lions jumped from 100:1 to 66:1.

Kicker Eddy Piñeiro named NFC special teams player of the week after Denver win

Kicker Eddy Piñeiro named NFC special teams player of the week after Denver win

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Bears' kicker Eddy Piñeiro was named NFC special teams player of the week today. 

This probably had something to do with it: 

Piñeiro's Sunday in Denver also included makes from 40 and 52. He's now 4-4 on FG attempts on the year, and is the only kicker in the NFL who has a 100% completion rate from 50+ yards (2/2). 

Per a Bears press released, Sunday was marked the first time a Bears kicker made two 50+ yard field goals in the same game since Week 12 of the 2011 season at the Raiders.