Eagles, Bears head coaches know each other well

Ed Benkin
January 02, 2019 - 7:58 pm
Dec 9, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson smiles prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy played for the Eagles...for one day. 

After an outstanding college quarterbacking career at the University of Delaware, Nagy went on to play in the Arena Football League. He came to the Eagles as a coaching intern and was working with the staff in 2009. When backup quarterback Kevin Kolb was injured, the Eagles signed Nagy to a contract, but the league said he could not play for the team due to his Arena League contract.

"That was a roller coaster of a day," said Nagy. "Coach (Andy) Reid brought me in. He asked me if I had an agent, if I was in shape and if I knew the playbook. They gave me that practice, but (General Manager)Tom Heckert tapped me on the shoulder and said I had to go back in and put the shorts on and get back to coaching. I went from the ultimate high to the ultimate low, but that's just how life goes and everything happens for a reason."

Nagy was clearly able to rebound from his one-day disappointment as a player.  He served as an assistant for several seasons before rejoining Reid in Kansas City in 2013. After serving as quarterback's coach, Nagy took over as offensive coordinator in 2017 after Doug Pederson left Kansas City to become the head coach of the Eagles.

Now, Pederson will be coaching against Nagy when the Eagles and Bears square off in a Wild Card playoff game in Chicago on Sunday. Pederson is happy to see what Nagy has done in Chicago as well as what former offensive coordinator Frank Reich has accomplished in Indianapolis.

"It makes you feel proud that you had a chance to work with them and be on the same staff with them and all of that," Pederson said. "Matt and I, we talk. He bounced a lot of ideas and when he took over in Chicago this past year, just how did I do things my first year and things of that nature and just kind of picking my brain. Frank did the same thing this year."

Will either coach have an advantage over the other when it comes to familiarity? Pederson and Nagy know each other well, so it will likely balance out evenly on Sunday. Pederson also downplayed the familiarity both coaches have since both have a background on the offensive side of the ball.

"I think because we're both on the offensive side," said Pederson. "I think, too, their offense is a little bit different than ours and it's even a little bit different from the Chiefs' offense. I think there's a little bit of the Oregon influence in some of the moving parts and different things that they have there, and the personnel that they have."

Pederson and Nagy have great respect for each other and both enjoyed their time together in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Pederson's success has also helped Nagy as he has been able to move up as Pederson continued to climb the coaching tree created by Reid.

"That's been pretty cool to come in as an assistant and keep following him," Nagy said. "It just goes to show, too, how Coach Reid does things. He builds from the ground up. He builds organically and I love that about Coach. He tries to teach his people that come in no matter where you start that he wants to teach you how to do it and then groom you."

Nagy will always be grateful for his time in Philadelphia, and some of his fondest memories of Pederson involved the dessert section of the Eagles cafeteria.

"We would go downstairs to the cafeteria at the NovaCare," said Nagy. "He'd always destroy the vanilla ice cream server. He'd fill that bad boy up and put a bunch of rainbow sprinkles on top of it and just devour it. He can crush food."