John Fox’s reputation certainly preceded him before he came to the Chicago Bears. He’d led winning teams in Carolina and Denver. But his tenure in Chicago was marred by frustration and an abundance of losses.
During his three-year tenure as Bears coach, Fox had a 14-34 record, including back-to-back-to-back last-place finishes in the NFC North.
The Bears fired him after a 5-11 season in 2017, with a top-10 defense and rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and brought in Matt Nagy to succeed him. In his first season, Nagy led the Bears to a 12-4 record and an NFC North championship.
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At the Bears100 celebration, one of the most talked-about panels featured Bears defensive linemen from past and present. When someone mentioned Nagy, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Dan Hampton took a shot at Fox.
“Thank God John Fox’s ass is out of town,” Hampton said. “Thank God.”
Hampton wasn’t the only member of the 1985 team to criticize Fox. Former safety Gary Fencik had his own opinion about Fox, although more diplomatic.
“What I find refreshing, I liked John Fox, but John Fox didn’t treat fans with respect,” Fencik said. “And I’m a [Bears] fan. I’m a season-ticket holder. And it was kind of like, ‘You don’t deserve to know,’ or ‘I’m not going to give you a lot of information.’
“What I really like about Matt is I think he recognizes and respects that the fans aren’t idiots.”
Nagy is well-respected and loved by his players and staff. But he’s also widely respected by former Bears, who are now fans.