Matt Eberflus Reveals Bears’ New Merciless Grading System


Matt Eberflus made a promise when he took over as the new Chicago Bears head coach. His team was going to get used to hard work. Players were expected to give 100% effort at all times, both in practice and in games. No excuses would be accepted. Eberflus knew it’d be hard. Some players don’t like that kind of grinding mentality. Still, the 51-year-old believes this approach is the best way to build a winning football team.

It’s hard to argue with that. After going undefeated in the preseason, the Bears stunned the national audience by upsetting the San Francisco 49ers on opening day. What stood out the most was how much intensity guys played with and how few mistakes they made. Eberflus revealed after the game that the Bears have a grading system to keep players in line. They review the film and grade every player on every play. If the coaches think the player didn’t give 100%, they’re given a “loaf.” The more loafs they have, the lower the grade. A few guys had problems with that against the Niners.

“If you were in 55 plays and you had 20 loafs, that’s not a good outing. There’s a couple guys that had that. We gotta do a better job with that.”

There are incentives involved with this process. Players who measure up to the standard will be recognized at the end of the season with a prestigious honor.

“If you’re in 10 plays and you only loaf one time, you’re in the 90 percent club. That’s a hard club to be in too, for the whole season. We’ll give that award out at the very end if you’re in that club. That means you played hard the entire season. That’s always hard to get into.”

Matt Eberflus is upholding the new standard.

What might’ve been good enough for the previous regime isn’t going to cut it under his watch. He wants to win a championship. Eberflus has chased a ring for two decades now. The lesson he learned during that time is winning a Super Bowl is hard. Only teams that have mental and physical stamina get that far. He was happy with what they showed against San Francisco, surviving early struggles and completing a strong comeback.

However, he wasn’t happy with their overall effort. Matt Eberflus doesn’t grade on a curve. Too many players got caught loafing. Future opponents will not give them 10-12 penalties as the 49ers did. They must play harder and smarter if they want to beat the Green Bay Packers and other top contenders.

Players admit the grading can be somewhat ruthless at times. Still, they’ve come to accept it. They can’t argue with the results so far. If they don’t like the loafs, there is an obvious solution. It comes down to accepting the hard part.

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