Remembering past failures can be useful as motivation, but at this point Bears head coach Matt Nagy needs to move on, because it’s getting unhealthy. Ever since Chicago lost on a double-doink in the playoffs, Nagy’s made sure that his players remember how they lost on the flukiest of plays.
Bears running back Tarik Cohen was on Adam Schein’s radio show Wednesday and revealed that this offseason, Nagy has shown footage of the final seconds of that game, so the players “never forget that hurt.”
“He’ll show it throughout team meetings that we have in the morning so the whole team can see it,” Cohen said. (Why is this shown to the whole team? What is the takeaway for them? Are they supposed to think, Just do the same things that worked so well last season and hope the kick is made this time?)
There is motivation, and then there is obsession. Independently, making the team relive the painful, season-ending moment would be normal as far as an NFL coach’s behavior can be normal, but Nagy has also sunk this into the heads of anyone looking to replace Cody Parkey. The Bears’ kicking candidates, none of whom are double-doinkers, have had to attempt field goals in practice from about the same distance as the fateful kick. When all three kickers missed earlier this month, Nagy sounded despondent and released one of them the following day.
This is going to be the easy recurring plotline on every broadcast of a Bears game, any time they have to line up for a consequential field goal. “You’ll recall how this went for the Bears last season,” someone will say to their booth buddy as the camera cuts to Nagy grinding his teeth to nubs while some poor high-strung placekicker lines up for a 40-something-yard attempt—that is, if they can find a usable kicker by then. Maybe the announcers will push the Double-Doink over and over again, but the coach doesn’t have to subject his team to it. The ball was tipped, Matt. It was bad luck. Take seven seconds and forget about it. Someone get this guy an edible and bar him from the team facilities for a day so he can relax.