CHICAGO – How much importance it actually has depends on how you look at it, but getting off to a good start is certainly never a bad thing.
Matt Eberflus had that opportunity on Sunday as he led the Bears onto the field for the first time in a regular season game. It was not just his first time serving as a head coach in the National Football League, but his first time doing so at any level of football.
Since entering the coaching profession at his alma mater Toledo in 1992, Eberflus has always been an assistant coach or coordinator. That changed on Sunday, and he had both a successful and historic start to his tenure.
In picking up a 19-10 win over the 49ers at a soggy Soldier Field on Sunday, Eberflus became just the fifth coach in Bears’ history to win his opening game. He became the first to do so in nine years, when Marc Trestman led the Bears to a 24-21 comeback win over the Bengals at home in 2013.
John Fox lost his opening game to the Packers at home in 2015 then Matt Nagy dropped his first contest as an NFL head coach at Green Bay at Lambeau Field in 2018.
Here are the other head coaches in Bears’ history that have won their opening game:
George Halas – 1920 – 20-0 win vs Moline Universal Tractors (Known as Decatur Staleys in APFA)
Neill Armstrong – 1978 – 17-10 win vs St. Louis Cardinals at Soldier Field
Dick Jauron – 1999 – 20-17 win vs Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field
Marc Trestman – 2013 – 24-21 win vs Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field
“I’m excited about it,” said Eberflus when asked about the importance of his first win. “I think the guys did a nice job in training camp and all the way back seven months ago of laying the foundation. They laid the foundation of what we talk about, about playing hard and being intense, taking the ball away, and then playing some smart ball, and those guys did that. The coaches, the players, and we have something to stand on.
“Again, it’s not perfect. We have a lot of work to do. We have to get better as the season goes.”
This was just one of the “Stats to Look At” from “The 9-Yard Line” this week on WGN News Now, which you can see in the video above.