It's hard to imagine a wider range of emotions than the ones that new Bears head coach Matt Nagy experienced this past weekend.
In what turned out to be his final game as Chiefs offensive coordinator Saturday, Kansas City blew a 21-3 lead in a 22-21 playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans. By 8 a.m. the next morning, Nagy was interviewing for the Bears' head-coaching position in a Kansas City hotel.
"Obviously Saturday night was a very difficult night," Nagy said. "I was numb for a lot of the night for so many different reasons. Just collectively for us, working so hard to get to where we go to and then to lose the way we did was difficult. But you have the family support on the drive home; you know the pump-you-up deal, and you keep going because you have one of the biggest days of your life coming up the next morning."
Given the nature of the loss, the Bears contacted Nagy's agent and informed him that they would understand if he wanted to change the time of the interview.
New Bears head coach Matt Nagy brought his family to Chicago, met with players and saw Halas Hall in his first day on the job.
"Just to show you how this organization here works and what meant the world to me, before I even got into the interview, I got a text message from my agent saying that they respect the loss and they respect your feelings, and if you need to move it back or you need some time to get over that, then do it," Nagy said. "That meant the world to me. Instead, we went even earlier. I wanted to go earlier because of that. That's where it all started. That was a good feeling."
Nagy met with Pace from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Raphael Hotel in Kansas City. Sharing the same passion for the game and following a similar road to the NFL, the two men clicked.
"I don't know that there was an exact moment within the interview, but you definitely felt it as the interview was ongoing," Pace said. "As you guys know, these interviews are pretty extensive. Just as it went on, I could feel a lot of shared beliefs in things that we would talk about; how to build a team, and culture and our organization.
"When you feel those shared beliefs, you feel similar personalities, it's just someone that you can feel very strong about working together and it being collaborative. Neither one of us has big egos, so it's just whatever is best for the Bears, and I feel very comfortable with that."
Pace gave reporters some interesting details about his interview with Nagy.
"You've probably got a list of 15 pages of questions," Pace said. "But to sit there and just go through each question robotically is not what we did. It was kind of, OK, these are the things we want to find out. We want to let him talk and I think we structured it in a way where that happened. It was very organic and it would kind of bounce around and really get a feel for the substance. There's a lot of guys that can win an interview or win a press conference, you know? But you've got to look for the substance behind it all. And Matt has a ton of substance."
Some of that substance was evident in how Nagy handled the Chiefs' disappointing playoff loss.
"I happened to be in my hotel watching that and I had mixed emotions, you know, watching that," Pace said. "But one of the things I love about Matt is his humility and willingness to come in and talk about that moment like he did. He owned it: 'Hey, guys, this is what happened, I was calling the plays, this is what I learned from that moment, and this is what I'm going to do better going forward.' I think that says a lot about him as a person."