“Fire Nagy!” chants broke out yet again Monday night during the Bulls game at the United Center as Chicago sports fans continue to express their displeasure with Bears coach Matt Nagy at games — regardless of the sport and venue.
Bears fans unleashed the chant during the Week 11 loss to the Baltimore Ravens — the Bears’ fifth straight before a Thanksgiving win against the Detroit Lions. Over the last week, it has echoed at Bulls and Blackhawks games and on Monday night included a taunting variation of “Hire Nagy!” directed from Illinois basketball fans to Notre Dame fans after Irish football coach Brian Kelly was reported to be leaving for LSU.
It’s likely to continue Sunday at Soldier Field if the Bears can’t keep up with the 9-2 Arizona Cardinals. But at least one Bears player hopes it won’t.
“We hate it, honestly,” Bears safety Eddie Jackson said Monday after practice at Halas Hall. “The fans have got to understand that doesn’t help anything. Y’all want us to play better, do better, that’s not helping when you all are sitting up there and chanting that.
“But I get it. The frustration, longtime Bears fans have been going through this for a long, long time, so I understand it, but it’s not helping the situation. I feel like it’s just making it worse. We just continue to rally around each other and look upon ourselves to get this turned around and block out all the outside noise.”
Jackson made clear the Bears “owe it to Chicago to go out here and play our best ball.” He wasn’t complaining as much as noting that Nagy is “still human, we’re still human,” and not many people want to be booed at their jobs.
It’s just another thing the Bears have to tune out as they try to focus on their final six games — and the uncertainty of the organization’s leadership after that.
Last week, a report surfaced on Patch.com that Nagy would be fired after the Lions game. Nagy’s bosses left him to refute the report to the media before Bears Chairman George McCaskey met with players a day later to say it was not true.
It made for a strange week for players, coaches and Nagy, but they were ready to move past it Monday when they returned to practice from a long weekend. Jackson said he thought players reported back with high energy.
Nagy said he enjoyed the time away with family while sneaking in work early in the morning and at night, “when you can steal some time and not get yelled at for it.”
Jackson is in his fourth season playing under Nagy and said he thought the coach showed “resilience” last week in dealing with the ongoing job speculation.
“I feel like it’s got to be tough, but for him to come in and still lead us and not show any signs of weakness or letting that affect him, that says a lot about him and his character,” Jackson said. “And for us, for him to be our leader, (it’s) just to fall behind what he’s doing. I feel like it’s tough, but he’s handled this situation very well.”