Matt Eberflus’ debut ‘a long time coming’

When Josh Gordon caught a nine-yard pass and tried to stomp both feet down before crossing intothe Chiefs sideline, Matt Eberflus knew what to do. He’d been preparing for it since January —but also, really, his whole life.

The Bears’ first-time head coach made sure that the audio line to his headset was clear so he could communicate with the booth upstairs. Then, after the second play of the second half Saturday, he tossed the red challenge flag onto the slipshod Soldier Field turf.

Two minutes later, Eberflus’ suspicions were proven correct. The completed pass was overturned. Bears linebacker Jack Sanborn intercepted a pass on the next play, rattled off the game’s final 19 points, and won Saturday’s exhibition opener, 19-14.

“We were working on that the whole offseason—when to throw [the flag], when not to throw,” he said. “Who’s communicating to who … I thought that was really good, really outstanding.”

Eberflus has been a football coach for 30 years. Saturday marked the first time, on any level, he’d been a head coach on game day. He wanted to make sure he was prepared.

“It’s a long time coming,” he said. “And I thought it was exciting.”

He’d mimicked the experience all offseason long. A month after he was hired, Eberflus named Harry Freid to be Bears’ director of research and analysis. Freid set up 20 or so video sessions with Eberflus, helping him game out how he’d make…

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Patrick Finley

Patrick Finley

Chicago Sun TImes

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Covering #Bears & #NFL for @SunTimes. Host, Halas Intrigue podcast: #Depaul adjunct, #Mizzou grad, dad, husband, identical twin