Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace were fired on “Black Monday” — the first Monday after the regular season’s conclusion — and Ryan Day is a rumored candidate for the NFL position.
For some time, the writing was on the wall: Nagy wouldn’t be Chicago’s head coach next year. Many fans wanted him gone before the season’s end, but he survived until Jan. 10 despite the Bears finishing with a 6-11 record.
The offensive-minded head coach had his offense flutter in recent seasons, with the Bears ranking 29th, 22nd and 27th in points scored during the last three years. As a result, Chicago finished 8-8 in 2019 and 2020 before losing three more games in 2021.
Nagy started his tenure with a 12-4 record and NFC North title. He won the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year award after becoming the first Bears rookie head coach to win at least 10 games since George Halas in 1920.
If Cody Parkey had made his 43-yard field goal in the 2018 NFL Wild Card, the Bears would have defeated the Eagles 18-16 and advanced to the divisional round. Instead, Parkey’s kick hit the left upright and the crossbar in what is now known as the “Double Doink” in NFL circles.
But Parkey didn’t make the field goal, and Nagy’s coaching career looked significantly different ever since.
With former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields landing in Chicago with a first-round pick, Day became a rumored candidate for what was expected to be a coaching vacancy in the offseason.
Buckeye Sports Bulletin reported on Dec. 15, 2021, that Day was uninterested in the Bears head coaching position after CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora said Day’s agent, Trace Armstrong, was discussing a potential front-office role in Chicago.
Nothing in Canfora’s report explicitly linked Day to the job, other than La Canfora writing that Armstrong was a “proponent” of the Ohio State coach. He also said Day had reportedly considered NFL openings in the last few years.
However, Day shut down the Bears rumors in a weekly press conference.
“There’s nothing to that,” Day said. “There’s no truth to it. I love Ohio State, and I love being the coach at Ohio State.”
Still, the Buckeye head coach will continue to be in the conversation until the Bears hire their next lead man. Reuniting with Fields makes sense, but he is more than just Fields’ former coach.
Day continued to build Ohio State after Urban Meyer’s departure, taking the program to two College Football Playoffs, a national championship and a Rose Bowl.
He also has NFL experience that distinguishes him from other college coaches. Day was the Eagles quarterbacks coach under Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur in 2015. He handled the same role for the 49ers in 2016, where he worked for Kelly again.
Day has invested in Ohio State’s coaching staff this offseason, indicating that he isn’t planning on leaving anytime soon. The Buckeyes hired defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and offensive line coach Josh Frye and will likely make a few more splashes before the spring season.