Bernstein: Nagy Gives Bears Fans New Ownership

Matt Nagy continues to connect to fans in a special way.

Dan Bernstein
January 02, 2019 - 2:30 pm
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(670 The Score) If Bears fans feel more connected than ever to their team, it's because coach Matt Nagy wants it that way, due to the fact that he thinks such an attachment matters.

It's only one of the contrasts with predecessor John Fox, but outside of the win total, it may be the most striking. Where Fox was condescending and dismissive, harrumphing his way through perfunctory media sessions that accomplished nothing, Nagy has invested time and effort in letting people in where he feels he can. He'll explain his thinking behind strategic decisions, describe how particular plays were designed and called and give what sure sound like honest assessments of performance. It's just not that hard for him to be a normal person in all this.

But it goes well beyond that, in his clear desire for the crowd to alter the game environment in a way that benefits his Bears. As a former quarterback and current play-caller, he seems to have an innate understanding of what makes life difficult for an opponent, and he specifically urges Soldier Field attendees to do so. He has been vocal about it ever since taking the job and went so far as to present a ceremonial game ball as an award to the crowd after the Bears overwhelmed the Rams 15-6 in a primetime affair on Dec. 9 that stamped them as genuine contenders.

"That was unbelievable when you go back and you think about how loud they were and how much that helped us," Nagy said. 

That game marked the first appearance of the air-raid siren sound effect, too, a wrinkle that may have been rolled out in response to a coach also making it clear internally that he thought more noise could help his team. It can't be coincidence that his arrival -- from Kansas City, where Arrowhead Stadium has had a reputation as one of the NFL's most raucous -- also coincided with new exhortations from the PA announcer as well. Nagy understands that communication between plays is vital to the functioning of verbose modern offenses and that there's real value in interfering successfully with any of it.

Those with years of gameday experience at Solder Field have described a new level of energy there, and we can at least have a reasonable discussion over to what degree that change is the cause or result of their 7-1 home record.

A cynic might note that Nagy is just politicking at the least or pandering at worst, but I think we know that when we hear it. What's more likely is that he really believes an engaged and disruptive crowd actually gives the Bears a better chance to win, and it has the secondary effect of making fans feel like they have a more tangible role in the game than they otherwise would.

Regardless, we've come a long way from the days of fans needing to be told to shut up so their own offense could get plays called, so that alone should be celebrated.

And Nagy wants their game to be stepped up for the playoffs as well as the Eagles visit for a wild-card round matchup Sunday.  

"This is when it gets real," he said Monday. "It's important for our fans to get as crazy as they've ever been. That's my challenge to them."

Here's the coach of the Bears actively involving the larger community, deepening the emotional stake even further. And what's cool is that he means every word of it.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​