LAKE FOREST – There was so much hope for the pair about this time three years ago, but fortunes can flip very quickly in the National Football League.
In 2018, Matt Nagy was the AP Coach of the Year while Ryan Pace was named the Sporting News Executive of the Year after the Bears won the NFC North with a 12-4 record.
But sluggish performances the next three seasons, especially in 2021, and some questionable personnel moves quashed that momentum quickly, and because of it, each finds themselves out of a job.
Both Nagy and Pace were fired on Monday following the team’s loss to the Vikings in the 17th and final game of a 6-11 campaign. About eight hours after their dismissal, each coach released a statement on behalf of the franchise.
Here is the statement from Nagy:
“To the Chicago Bears organization – It was an honor to serve as your Head Coach over the past four seasons. I want to thank Ted Phillips, George H. McCaskey and Mrs. Virginia McCaskey for the opportunity to lead one of the game’s most storied franchises. It’s four years I’ll always remember.
“To Ryan Pace – Your passion and commitment towards this franchise was contagious. You gave it everything you had, every single day. It was always teamwork and togetherness with us. No regrets. Thank you.
“To the Players, Coaches and Support Staff – Thank you for your hard work and daily dedication. I will forever be grateful for the fight and determination you showed each week. Every day I tried my very best to honor the commitment you showed to the game and the organization. We’ve all built great relationships that will last a lifetime. I was proud to be your coach and wish you nothing but success in the future.”
Here is the statement from Pace:
“I want to thank the Bears organization, especially Mrs. Virginia McCaskey, George H. McCaskey and Ted Phillips, for the last seven years. This is a first-class organization and my family and I enjoyed our time in Chicago. Today’s news is the tough part of our business but I am proud to have poured absolutely everything into making the Chicago Bears a better football team every single day since first stepping foot into Halas Hall. From the expansion of Halas Hall, to every staff hire, every roster move, every scouting trip, every draft pick was with a championship vision in mind.
“To Matt Nagy and his family, thank you. Together the last four years we built a culture that persevered and a foundation that will catapult the organization into the next phase of success. Although we did not reach our ultimate goal, we accomplished a lot, most notably an NFC North title, two playoff berths, 19 Pro Bowlers and 6 All-Pro selections.
“To the players, I appreciate everything that you gave out on the field. I believe in each and every one of you and I know the talent is there to bring a championship to Chicago.
“To the entire football operations staff, I appreciate your dedication and tireless efforts during our time together. Your grind behind the scenes does not go unnoticed and the sacrifices are essential to the successes we have had together.
“Bears fans, your passion is palpable daily. Through the wins and losses, it was our constant goal to deliver the championship you deserve. Thank you for making this city the best ‘home field advantage’ in the NFL.
“Our family is from Illinois, went to college in Illinois and as Bears fans for life, we are proud to say that we are confident the future is bright for this team going forward.”