Bears head coach Matt Nagy said “magic words” to draw unsportsmanlike penalty


Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy drew a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for his reaction with officials to a play late in the first quarter of Monday night’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Nagy was angry that the officials had called a personal foul for a hit to a defenseless receiver for contact between safety Deon Bush and Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin. Although Bush contracted Conklin high while he attempted to catch a pass from Kirk Cousins, replays showed that Bush’s hit seemed to be rather incidental to his attempt to play the ball.

Once Nagy saw the replay of the play in question, he became very animated on the sidelines in expressing his anger to back judge Terrence Miles. At the end of the back-and-forth, Nagy shouted and turned to walk away as Miles delivered the flag for unsportsmanlike conduct on Nagy.

In a pool report after the game, head referee Scott Novak said that Nagy chose some of the few words you can’t say to an official to draw the flag.

“I won’t repeat what he said,” Novak said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “But when it crosses a line and it’s inappropriate, then that’s when we throw a flag.”

Novak said there was no warning given to Nagy. He hadn’t crossed a line until he did and so the flag was thrown.

“It’s tough to warn because we don’t know where the conversation is going,” Novak said. “So, if he just ends up going in that direction and it gets to where we need to throw a flag, we throw it.”

The penalty on Nagy moved the Vikings to the Chicago 12-yard line. The Bears defense held and forced a 37-yard field goal from Greg Joseph.