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Day in the Life: Coach Matt Eberflus

Story by Gabby Hajduk, photos by Jacob Funk

ChicagoBears.com documented a day in the life of head coach Matt Eberflus during training camp, just two days before the team's first preseason game of 2023.

At exactly 6:15 a.m., Bears coach Matt Eberflus pulls into the Halas Hall parking lot, officially beginning his 13-14 hour day – a light load compared to a common 16-17 hour day midseason – at the team facility.

Starting the morning at his home with a cup of vanilla macadamia nut coffee and a shot of espresso, Eberflus then utilizes the short ride to work to listen to scripture. When he has the time to read scripture at home, he rides in silence as he enjoys feeling calm in the morning. Before his day becomes filled with meetings and practices, Eberflus is sure to send that day's scripture to his best friends and family.

As Eberflus makes his way to his second-floor office, he stops to make a second cup of coffee, this time not picky about the flavor as he opts for a simple cup of black coffee. By the time Eberflus reaches his office, he's free for about thirty minutes before the day's first meeting.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.
A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Eberflus' block between 6:30 a.m and 7:00 is typically spent walking down the coaches hallway to check in with his staff. He stops to talk with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and special teams coordinator Richard Hightower to either tie up some loose ends from the previous day's work or discuss what's on today's agenda.

Eberflus learned the value in casual one-on-one conversations with his staff and players from one of his mentors, Gary Pinkel. The longtime college coach was at the helm at Toledo during Eberflus' senior year. Pinkel brought Eberflus on to the Rockets' staff following the then-linebacker's senior season before the two moved on together to the University of Missouri when Pinkel was hired as the Tigers' head coach in 2001.

Pinkel was always in Eberflus' office when they coached together, which taught him how much easier it is to go deeper with people in individual, face-to-face settings rather than in large meetings or over the phone. Eberflus makes it a point to implement those personal interactions into his daily routine with the Bears.

The first meeting of Eberflus' day falls at 7:00 a.m. with the entire football personnel group, which includes coordinators, assistant coaches, scouts and heads of departments like equipment and communications. Led by Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles, the meeting addresses what the upcoming practice will entail, which players will and won't participate and any other planning information to ensure the day runs smoothly.

Next up is position meetings, starting with the quarterbacks at 8:20. Eberflus always sits in with the QBs to spend extra time with Justin Fields and talk through specific situations like a two-minute drill or third-down play. As a former defensive coordinator, Eberflus also provides his expertise to the quarterbacks on what the defense is doing and how to combat it.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

With the season being extremely taxing, the Bears like to keep it light at times. The quarterback room, specifically, competes in basketball and darts throughout the season. Right now, Eberflus and Fields are each on the board for the group's basketball competition. In darts, Eberflus takes pride in currently having the lowest score.

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A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

At 8:35, Eberflus heads down the hall to the linebackers room, a space he feels is his wheelhouse as a former college linebacker. In the meeting, Eberflus remains an active participant, giving individual feedback and asking players questions about the practice script.

Spending time with both the linebackers and quarterbacks is crucial for Eberflus, as he wants to be on the same page with the offensive and defensive signal callers.

With nearly 45 minutes to spare before practice, Eberflus regroups in his office and watches film from the previous day's practice, assessing some of the one-on-one periods.

Then at 9:45, Eberflus leaves his office and walks down to the practice field, where he spends the next two-plus hours. As he makes his way onto the field, he chats with various players like linebacker Noah Sewell, and coaches like defensive coordinator Alan Williams and cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke, before practice is underway.

Throughout practice, he walks to each position group to observe drills and provide specific coaching points. Part of his head-coaching duties include manipulating the practice periods and developing game-like situations. With the Bears nearing their first preseason game, Eberflus sets up a third down competition and play-it period to keep the players and coordinators on their toes.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.
A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

To wrap up practice, Eberflus brings the team together and either points out key developments of the day or leaves the group with an overarching message.

Following this specific practice, Eberflus hammers in the importance of his 48-hour rule in preparation for Saturday's game and encourages the players to use the preseason to refine and adjust routines rather than waste the opportunity. He advises the young players to "get with the veterans" and learn about their process.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Once the team huddle breaks, Eberflus visits with practice guests, which range from general fans attending camp to Bears Care VIP guests to friends of football personnel staff.

On this day, Eberflus spends time with a young boy from the Make-A-Wish program, taking photos with him and his family while also signing his Bears football.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

A little after noon, Eberflus heads back inside to grab lunch and takes it up to the second-floor defensive meeting room, where he watches practice film with Williams and the position coaches.

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Offensive and defensive unit and position meetings begin around 2:15 p.m. and last over two hours. Eberflus joins in on the defense's meeting, which features every defensive player and their respective position coaches. He often sits in the back among the players, observing and interacting with them as Williams leads the meeting.

Before the unit breaks off into their position groups, the players go through an indoor walkthrough where they implement new plays or schemes. Eberflus takes this time to coach up individual players on technique or their role in a specific play while evaluating how the entire defense grasps the concept.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Eberflus grabs tacos from the cafe for dinner around 4:45 p.m., having 30 minutes to refresh before the daily team meeting.

At 5:15 p.m., Eberflus joins all the players and coaches along with some football operations staff in the team auditorium. After Kyle Kelly, Bears director of operations & logistics, provides the team's itinerary for the next 48 hours leading up to the preseason opener, Eberflus takes command of the room. He explains the schedule for tomorrow then discusses pregame routines and the team's ensuing walkthrough.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Eberflus and the team exit the auditorium around 5:50 to attend the final walkthrough of the day on the practice field. Eberflus conducts a "mock game" in preparation for Saturday, letting the position groups run out onto the field like he would for a normal game day.

Eberflus watches the gameday process unfold then directs the run of show as the units rotate through situations and scripted plays.

A look at a Day in The Life of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus during Day 13 of training camp at Halas Hall, Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois.

As walkthrough wraps up at 6:45 p.m., Eberflus makes his way up to his office once more, this time to tie up any loose ends from the day's work and pack up to go home.

Just after 7:00 p.m., Eberflus finally exits Halas Hall, eager to go visit his eldest daughter Grace, whom he hasn't seen in a few weeks.

While Eberflus' day is long and jam-packed, it's the typical life for an NFL coach dedicated to building a championship team he and the Bears are striving to be.

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