Could Beating Jaguars Lift Matt Nagy Out of the Danger Zone?

Analysis: Teams rarely fire coaches with winning or .500 records, although it has happened on occasion but often with disastrous aftereffects
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If you're among those favoring the firing of coach Matt Nagy and staff, it's possible this could be the biggest game of the season Sunday against Jacksonville.

After all, a win and the Bears can do no worse than .500, their record at the end of last year. With a win, they've still got a shot at the playoffs if they can beat Green Bay.

It would make more sense to fire a coach after a losing season.

It's probably not going to please anyone in this camp of fans to know coaches at .500 or better rarely get axed.

It's been done sporadically in the past but by some owners with more regularity. The McCaskey family definitely isn't one of those, although they ventured down this path once recently.

The 2012 firing of Lovie Smith was the lone exception, but it came about largely because they'd hired GM Phil Emery and he wanted to hire his own coach. He did, and Marc Trestman came to Chicago for two forgettable seasons.

Smith's team had just finished 10-6 and out of the playoffs after a 7-1 start, this coming after: 1) starting 5-3 in 2008 and missing the playoffs, 2) starting 3-1  in 2009 and missing the playoffs, and 3) starting 7-3 in 2011 and missing the playoffs.

One firing of an NFL coach with a .500 record occurred last year. But it was football's version of the late George Steinbrenner doing the firing, Jerry Jones. Garrett had been .500 or better three straight years and won the division with a 10-6 record in 2018.

How's that firing working out for Jerry these days?

This is the problem. Quite often coaches with .500 or better records get fired and what follows is disaster like Dallas has experienced.

Jones did the same thing with Chan Gailey after a .500 record and playoff berth in 1999. He hired Dave Campo and got three straight 5-11 seasons.

Detroit fired Jim Caldwell after consecutive 9-7 seasons, and a winning record over four seasons, then plunged into troubled waters with Matt Patricia.

Al Davis was probably about as rational in his decision making as Jones, and fired Hue Jackson and Tom Cable in back-to-back years after each posted 8-8 marks in 2011 and 2012. For his efforts, Davis received four straight losing seasons.

There are so few instances of firing .500 or better coaches in the NFL amid all the firings made over the years, and the reason is fairly obvious—it's generally bad business to fire someone who hasn't been struggling and losing unless you're absolutely certain about what comes next. Nothing is worse for ownership than egg on their face.

John Elway seemed certain enough to fire John Fox after 2014, four straight divisional titles and a 12-4 record, and Gary Kubiak rewarded his decision with the Lombardi Trophy. 

However, Elway also has a history of impatiently firing people like Davis and Jones did, and then bringing in losers.

Could Bears fans be certain ownership would bring in someone who would take the next step from .500 to a perrenial winner?

The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired Tony Dungy after a 9-7 season and a playoff berth, then traded two first-round picks and two second round picks to Oakland for Jon Gruden. 

This was an ownership certain of what needed to be done. They received the Lombardi Trophy in return.

The Bears have gone without a first-round pick since 2018 so it's probably pretty safe to assume no move like this will be coming.

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