Still in the excitement of yesterday’s Super Bowl, the grand finale of the NFL campaign and the biggest event in the American sporting calendar, and the news of the newly appointed Hungarian head coach of Chicago Bears, Matt Nagy, we are recalling the most famous Hungarian-born American football coaches in the NFL: founder and owner of Chicago Bears, George Halas and Don Shula, Miami Dolphins’ Super Bowl-winning coach.
Follow in the footsteps of two legendary head coaches from Hungarian origin, George Stanley Halas and Don Shula, there will be another Hungarian-born American football head coach in the National Football League: Matt Nagy. The former offensive coordinator of Kansas City Chiefs has been named as Chicago Bear’s new head coach in January 2018.
The 39-year-old Nagy started his playing career as a quarterback of the team of Delaware University and continued in four teams at the Arena Football League. He joined the NFL in 2008 as the trainee coach of Philadelphia Eagles, this years’ Super Bowl champion. In 2010 he was appointed as the team’s assistant coach and from 2011, he became the quality control coach of the Eagles. From 2013, he continued his career at the Chiefs as quarterback training coach and in 2016 he was appointed to offensive coordinator. After the Chiefs dropped out in the playoffs of the 2017 season, he took the job at Chicago Bears.
George Stanley Halas, also known as “Papa Bear”, head coach, founder and owner of the Chicago Bears, played in the NFL from 1919-29 in the predecessor of today’s Chicago Bears, Dacatur Staleys. While playing there for ten years, he also became the coach and owner of the team. He won 6 league titles with the Bears: once as a coach, a player and owner at the same time. His monogram (GHS) is on the jersey of Chicago Bears and the trophy of the NFC (National Football Conference) Main Group was also named after him. His number, 7, was retired by Bears and of course, he is the member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He passed away at the age of 88, in 1983.
Don Shula had also enjoyed a great playing career; however, he was rather destined to become a big name in American football as a coach. He was appointed as head coach of the Baltimore Colts in 1963, leading the team to a 71-23-4 record and an appearance in Super Bowl III. Moving to the Miami Dolphins before the 1970 season, he became the first NFL coach to win 100 games in 10 seasons. In 1972–73, the Dolphins became the first and only team to go undefeated through an entire season and the playoffs, topped with a Super Bowl victory. The Dolphins defended their title in the following year, and reached the Super Bowl final twice again with Shula.
At the time of the 1970 NFL (National Football League) and AFL (American Football League) merger, George Halas held the record for most wins as a head coach. He retired from coaching in 1967 season with 324 wins, including six playoff wins. Halas was surpassed by Don Shula 28 years later. Shula retired at the end of 1995, after 328 regular season wins and 19 playoff wins.