Bears fire Lovie Smith


Missing the playoffs for the second straight year has cost Bears coach Lovie Smith his job.

The Bears have fired Smith this morning, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The move comes a day after the team finished its second consecutive season out of the playoffs.

Although the Bears won their final two games to finish 10-6 and remain until playoff contention until Sunday afternoon, the Vikings beating the Packers to take the final wild card spot sealed Smith’s fate.

Smith made the playoffs three times and reached the Super Bowl once in Chicago, but he missed the playoffs in five of his last six seasons, and as a result he will not be back. Chicago will look for a new coach, and Smith will look for a new job.

122 responses to “Bears fire Lovie Smith

  1. This one is surprising even though it was suggested prior to it happening. Lots of new openings without enough viable candidates to fill them.

  2. I have a lot of respect for Lovie but it is the right time for a change

    Lovie has absolutely no idea how to hire people on the offensive side of the ball and with the aging defense, that’s where the young talent lies.

    Lovie is what he is, a decent to good coach. He beat teams he was expected to beat and lost to teams he was expected to lose.

    Hopefully Emery hires an offensive head coach and they can unlock Cutler’s full potential

  3. I’m curious what would have happened with his job if the Packers beat the Vikings yesterday.

  4. Bears fans have been asking for this for a while, no offense but….I guess no offense has been the problem for a while here. The O won’t match the D but they need more. The late season collapses are a major problem.

  5. He was good for a while but these last two seasons have been disasters…best of luck to him going forward. We need an offensive minded coach. Defense wins championships only if there is a good offense to go with it

  6. The Bears won’t go to the playoffs again the next FIVE years. The cubs did the same with Dusty Baker and have been horrible every since. Watch.

  7. Not a Bears fan but I don’t think that the best decision. Another case of not knowing what ya have until its gone, also not sure Reid shoulda been rolled out in Philly

    go hawks

  8. I’m not a Bears fan and I don’t follow them on a daily basis, but I don’t really see how getting rid of Lovie makes them a better team. They always seemed to play hard for him. Seems like they need a new offensive line more than they need a new head coach.

  9. I guess this also means the end of Brian Urlacher in Chicago as well. It’s too bad. As a Vikings fan, I enjoyed watching him compete against my team.

  10. I bet Cowher is interested in coaching the Bears. Seems like the Bears and Giants are the only franchises where he would reconsider the cushy TV gig.

  11. Wow. I heard the chatter but was not expecting this at all. 10-6 gets you fired? Well, maybe it was two losses to the Packers that did it.

    As a Viking fan, it was great to see them knock off the Packers yesterday evening and earn a playoff spot. But if the Packers win that game, and the Bears go one and out in the playoffs, does Smith still lose his job?


  12. In the end he was the coaching equivalent of “just good enough to get you beat”. His downfall really began after the Super Bowl when he let Rivera go and made a series of lousy staff and personnel decisions. “Trust me,” he said. Not so much, Lovie. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the Bears’ trip into the 21st Century NFL.

  13. Smith is actually a good coach when it comes to defensive details but team motivation, press and fan PR, and understanding how to work with a GM to correct team weak spots thru the draft and trades are not his strong points. He will catch on elsewhere where his strengths are critical and his shortcomings don’t mattter.

  14. Living in Chicago,and being a Chicago Bears fan, I must say I am pleased with this firing.Lovie was a good coach in his early years with the Bears,but the last couple of years have been miserable!! Now is the time to make some power moves,because The Bears are a good team with a lot of talent,I think a Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden could help us reach our FULL potential!! They bring a no nonsense approach with a fiery attitude and demeanor..Chicago Bears fans our passionate about our team and we want our coach to be the same!!!! Go Bears!!!

  15. I didn’t think this would happen. Surely, a franchise wouldn’t cut loose a proven coach without a replacement in mind, wonder who it could be.

  16. Lions strike again! Get a head coach fired. Relax Lions fans it was Lovie. Not even the Lions are classless enough to disrespect their head coach by asking to speak with candidates b4 firing Lovie. I mean that bad, man. Really bad.

  17. The only time the Bears had even an average offense, they went to the super bowl. Lovie’s teams were consistently in the range of #28 every other year. It would have taken at least a playoff win to save his job this year.

  18. Wow, 10 wins is not enough? Maybe the GM should have been concerned with getting some decent offensive linemen! And correct me if I’m wrong but would the Bears have made the playoffs if the replacement refs didn’t hand Seattle a win over the Packers?

  19. ajb3313 says:
    Dec 31, 2012 11:09 AM
    So the Chicago job is easily the most coveted opening now, right?

    I would say so. You have a franchise QB in place with a proven #1 WR. A top 10 defense with leadership in place. Fantastic Special teams. Bring in a coach with strong leadership and a brilliant offensive mind. I would even leave Marinelli in place for stability on defense.

  20. Past due, it was time to move on much like the Eagles should have done with Reid eyars ago. When he gets another job, he needs to call up Tony Dungy and ask him how he allowed himself to break away from his natural inclination of flawed conservative offensive approach to become a better overall coach in his second job.

  21. I’m sure Bear fans are happy for change, a little shock Lovie is fired after posting a winning season at 10-6..oh well, I wish Lovie the best in his endeavors.

  22. Meanwhile, in Tennessee, Jeff Fisher kicks his flat-screen in frustration, realizing he should have waited one more year to get the job he always coveted.

  23. Mike Tice needs to go too…. he was an awful head coach and he is an awful offensive coordinator.

  24. Makes no sense. His fate came down to a game between two other teams? Stupid. The team won 10 games! If we fired coughlin in 2010 after a 10 win no playoff season we wouldn’t have won the sb a year later. Knee meet jerk

  25. I am glad to see that his firing was not met with accusations of “racism”.
    Smith, like Marvin Lewis, has had every chance to succeed, but has failed….miserably and thus deserved to be fired.
    I really hope that the media, race-baiters Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and the black racist writers for ESPN, do not kill the Bears for this move.

    I hope the Bears, like every other NFL team, hires the best coach – REGARDLESS of color!

  26. This is Chicago. The politicians remodeled Soldier Field to look like a toilet bowl and created one of the smallest stadiums in the NFL. Indy is on its second dome and can host super bowls and college championship games. Soldier field has crappy turf causing injuries to players’ knees. The Chicago media demanded Lovie’s contract be renewed a few years ago. The Chicago media demanded that the Bears sign Cutler. Chicago is the most politically corrupt city in the nation according to a Univ of Illinois study. It really looks like no one can succeed in Chicago as the city has a third rate media and a third rate government.

  27. ESPN reported this as “according to multiple sources” which means it didn’t come from them but they’ll be damned if they say the actual source…

  28. As a Viking fan, I have great respect for Lovie Smith and don’t think this was a smart move. Smith can’t be held responsible for the fact that injuries tend to derail the Bears every season. It’s also hard for me to agree with this after they finished 10-6 and only failed to make the playoffs due to having a one-game worse divisional record than the Vikings. Plus, he’s the best Tampa-2 coach in the league and that’s what the Bears are equipped to run. Chicago is going to regret firing him, and Bears fans will be longing for the good ol’ days of Lovie soon enough.

  29. Please stop blaming Cutler….look at their record with any other quarterback……Joe Montana wouldn’t have been great behind that crap offensive line. Cutler is the reason they were 10-6 and not 6-10. We’ve seen them play without him and it’s not pretty. I don’t think any qb would be great while getting slammed into the turf ten times a game. Is Cutler a HOF QB no, but he’s certainly good enough to win with. Goodbye Lovie, you’ll be a great defensive coordinator somewhere.

  30. Maybe someone can look this up? When was the last time a coach was fired off a 10 win season? When was the last time a coach was fired after making the playoffs?

  31. Coaching was not the problem in Chicago. The main problem is still the whining, sniveling, snot-nosed brat Jay Cutler.

    The Bears offensive lineman can’t stand Cutler no matter what they may say about him in public. They maintain the party line to keep their jobs plain and simple.

    Nobody wants to play with a whiner like Cutler. Please don’t try to tell me that body language and respect for team mates doesn’t mean anything. It means everything. It doesn’t fly in pee-wee football and it certainly doesn’t fly in the NFL.

    So now Cutler gets yet another new offensive coordinator and a brand new, ready-made excuse for under performance.

  32. Rod Marinelli once wrestled a bear.

    Now he should call a truce and agree to wrestle the rest of the NFL as their new head coach.

  33. I respect Lovie, but it was finally time. He’s great with the defense, but he couldn’t get it right with the offensive coordinator and offensive line. Hopefully the next coach we bring in will be more balanced with his approach.

  34. This is sooooo disappointing!

    The Bears Still Suck!!!

    NFC North Team that are not the Bears.

  35. Beezia you obviously don’t know that Matinelli has a reputation for being one of the best defensive line coaches around and a good DC. As a Bucs fan I would ne estatic too see Rod and Lovie come home to Tampa and help fix the D.

  36. These are some of the names I’ve read may be considered, but I doubt the suits at Halas Hall will pay the bucks or give enough control to land any of them.

    Billick…Holmgren…Reid…Cowher…Gruden…Kyle Shanahan.

    Dave Toub might do well…Ron Rivera, too, but they should try to find an offensive- minded guy…And they should retain Marinelli to coach the defense.

  37. Well i did see this comming I am very saddened by this news, the end to the Urlacher area in Chicago(Makes me feel old). I feel like this could be the right time, but he never lost the locker room every player on the team belived in Lovie.
    Best wish Mr.Smith, alot of open jobs for you. Now that my team is out of the playoffs i can at least search for coaches. Playoff would have been better.

  38. This one was the only one that actually surprised me. This Bears football team loves Smith. They play hard for him. The best team not in the playoffs is in Chi-town. That is the most coveted job right now. They are playoff ready with some tweaks to the O-Line and get a little younger on D. If you get a guy that can hit on 3/4 of this years draft at key positions this is a playoff team next year.

    In the offseason I said the NFC North was maybe the toughest division. With 3 teams at 10 wins I’d say I wasn’t wrong.

  39. I have no horse in this race at all, but I think Lovie had his fair chance in running the Bears. He made the defense consistently solid, but the offense never really figured out how to use Matt Forte properly, and the offensive line has turned Jay Cutler into a punching bag ever since he got to Chicago. I’m sure someone will want Lovie to run their defense, so he’ll find a new gig elsewhere this offseason.

  40. people who are saying they are feeling phil emery need to look at the chiefs , who brought in Romeo Crennel , who is the same coach as Lovie , hes a players coach and the last i checked the chiefs have sucked for years straight

    we need to be careful what we wish for , lovie was a very good coach and just needed a GM to support him and spend the money…Scary to see what we get now ..hope we dont go backwards for this…

  41. It’s about time. This guy is vastly overrated as an NFL head coach. He’d be great as a coordinator, but as the guy in charge? Nope. This is long overdue. Unfortunately, ownership has always proven that instead of getting the right replacement, they’ll most likely get the cheapest that can be had for the right price.

  42. Been waiting for this day for years. He should have been gone last year though. The problem I always had was the Tampa 2 defence that just doesnt work anymore.
    However I dont see a lot of great choices out there.
    Gruden, No thanks took a great team that was already in place to 1 superbowl then destroys it.
    Chin no way. He only won one of the most fixed superbowls in the history of the game.

    In the end, in Emery I trust. He has done good so far. I hope he keeps it up.

  43. I agree that Lovie Smith was struggling as a coach however, how does the team improve? I don’t think there is any coaches on the market better than Lovie. A change in OC is definitely fore coming Mike Tice called a go route on 3rd and 4 yesterday. Poor o-line play and play calling cost this man his job. Good luck Lovie, thanks for the last 9 years

  44. Chicago had better make a splash with the next coach they hire. We have many problems to address with our organization. We have failed to find a future replacement for urlacher the last few years which is a concern considering his recent injuries the last few years.
    We have major concerns on the O-line and while jeffery will be a rising start in coming years we still ned a viable option for cutler to throw to opposite marshall. Fans can get off cutlers nuts. I love the competitiveness he brings on Sunday. Who doesn’t want a guy with the same kind of fire in his belly that jay has on their team?

  45. coaches are hired to be fired, it is the nature of the business.
    change is not always that good.

  46. “Indy is on its second dome and can host super bowls and college championship games.”

    Peyton Manning built that second dome. On top of that, it’s still Indy. Chicago is corrupt, but so it the country.

  47. And for all you idiots saying Jay Cutler got Lovie fired, or was the bigger problem…Without Jay winning 29 of his last 42 starts, Lovie’s probably gone sooner.

  48. lovef111 :

    Ron Rivera is a terrible coach, when the Bears D started losing guys to IR in 06, the defensive rank started to plummet. He is only as good as his talent. See San Diego, esp see Carolina. He can’t coach anybody up.

  49. Lovie’s contract was going to be up after next year. So you either extend him now, or fire him. I don’t see how you could have extended him at this point, so the timing to fire him is right. I respect Lovie and what he brought to Chicago, which was a tough defense and a lot of wins. Just not enough big wins, and not enough offense. Best of luck to him in his next gig. It will be very interesting to see who comes in next and who remains from the current staff.

  50. No dog in this fight but if 10-6 gets you fired and 4-12 in Detroit buys you another season, what’s wrong with this picture?

    The answer is Jay Cutler. Those who call him a franchise QB don’t know the definition of what a franchise QB is. Its a QB that can carry a team and all Cutler has ever done is tear one down.

    Good luck to the Bears fans but a new coach with Cutler will bring you the same results with just a different set of excuses attached.

  51. Thats sad that Dolphins and Bills fans would like to have what Lovie did for the Bears. Thats the difference between fans that demand a championship not just a average team. Lovie was a class act all the way and his defense was always top notch. But bottom line is he missed playoffs 5 of the last 6 years and never was able to put an offensive staff together in 9 years. I wish him luck and with the right team I think he could have great success but for the Bears is was time. Good move by the 1st year GM!

  52. It is a testament to Coach Smith that despite missing the playoffs five of six years people are sad to see him go. His teams defensively were usually top notch and gave teams fits.

    As someone who watched the hapless Dave Wannestedt and Dick Jauron struggle through year after year, I fully appreciate the risk the Bears are taking. They were almost always competitive under Lovie. But the time has come for a change.

    I think Lovie would be a great hire for a number of other teams. But to have Super Bowl success he simply has got to get a competent offensive coordinator. It is not a coincidence that Mike Martz is out of football, or that Mike Tice never called plays before. Even Ron Turner (Mr. I’ll never use the Shotgun) is coaching receivers and quarterbacks instead of calling plays for an NFL offense.

    Jerry Angelo deserves most of the blame for the last six years, but Lovie also can’t dodge all the blame because I think a head coach has some say in terms of personnel. And the Bears have obviously needed O linemen, wide receivers and a serviceable back up QB through most of Lovie’s tenure.

    Anyway, from a Bears fan, best of luck to Lovie. He is a class guy who always represented the organization well.

  53. Thank God!!!! My problem with Lovie was how he always assigned blame to the recently departed offensive coordinator and what he did to Chico after the 06 season. Finally, he ran out of patsies. And, it’s time to move on from the 20 year old cover 2 scheme. I hope the new coach is an unknown and young. Also, it’s time to switch to a 3-4 of which the likes of Mclellan, Melton and Wooten can plug right in and we can respectfully say goodbye to Briggs, Urlacher and the rest of the “Tampa-2” relics.

  54. You are right. He was always a class act and a player’s coach but the Peter Principle applies to all of us. PR, drafts and trades, and the changing nature of offense in the NFL were never Lovie’s strong points. He will catch on and hopefully will find a spot where his strong points play well and his shortcomings don’t matter.

  55. Lovie has been paid very, very well by the Bears in the past few seasons and he missed the playoffs (let alone was a threat in the playoffs) in 5 of the last 6 years. That should cost you your job.

  56. Well, if that’s what it takes to get rid of Mike Tice as OC, then I guess it was a good move.

    Truth is, the Bears are starting a re-building process with their defensive leadership now, and offensively they need a new identity on offense.

    So, a new coach (and staff) seems appropriate for the road the Bears are on now.

    Nobody leaps to mind as a good candidate to replace Lovie Smith, however.

  57. The Bears fired Lovie? For missing the playoffs in five of the last six seasons and going 10-6 this year, he would have been given a ticker tape parade here in Buffalo.

  58. LOL look at there record with Cutler at QB ??

    Do you know there record with ORTON at QB ?

    The bears went 9-7 in 2008 with Orton and he missed one of those games that they lost and he didnt even have a Brandon Marshall

    Its been 4 years and the Bears gave up a boat load to get Cutler and all it amounts to is ONE MORE WIN . They fired 2 offensive coordinators during that span added a top 5 receiver during that span and all they got for it was ONE MORE WIN and the offense actually has gotten worse

    The one offensive constant in that equation is Jay Cutler

  59. Lovie got that job because of his success as a coordinator. He will be a good coordinator again.
    Someone will hire him quickly.

  60. Smith is a hell of a coach and deserved much better. Depending on who they hire, this may be a Titans-esque move backwards….similar to what’s happened in Tennessee since they bounced Jeff Fisher.

  61. dang it , he was easy to beat!

    bring in the next guy to “beat the Packers”
    and fail

    bye Lovie, i will miss the nap i take during your press confrences

  62. i still don’t get the love for cutler. have you SEEN the games where he whines, pouts and throws interceptions?

    now, let’s take it to a personal level with that nfl player poll: he is the MOST HATED player in the league, and that includes suh and vic! do you think his own teammates voted too?

    if i had cutler as my qb, we better be super bowl champs or that pouty chick is out the door.

  63. For this to happen after 10 and 6 is a surprise. I’m betting that have a big name coach in mind for this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they manged to snag Andy Reid. But, I wouldn’t be totally shocked if it’s someone like Brain Belick

  64. snaponrules,

    I agree he’d run his course there probably, but do you watch your own team? The bears were blitzing and changed up their defensive concepts quite a bit in recent years.

    He’s a good coach who got the most out of the talent on that team most years. I hate when clueless fans go overboard calling good coaches bad just because they didn’t win a Super Bowl (see Eagle fan for the worst case of this phenomenon). He was better coaching than Ditka ever was.

    Anybody who can get to a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as their QB and make deep playoff runs with him is pretty good at the coaching thing.

  65. @ Savoir-Faire – You do a great job reminding everyone that Orton was hurt for a loss but forget to mention Cutler was hurt for 5 of them last year and another one this year? Anyone who has watched our second and third string qbs play knows the difference with cutler in the game and cutler out. In 9 years lovie’s best offense was ranked 15th overall – he is the constant to our bad offense.

    I appreciate everything Lovie has done for Chicago but the constant “we win against bad teams, lose against good teams” mindset to get to the playoffs just isn’t doing it anymore.

  66. Watch: the new Bears head coach will be a surprise to most of us. The Bears are in a double bind. The 6 mil plus proven gang (Gruden , Cowher, etc.) know that Chicago fans and owners want quick action after a 10/6 no go season but that the aging Bear defense and no O-line means 3 to 5 years to get better rather than drafting a miracle rookie QB and making it next year. They will want 5 years or better at 6 million or better and that is outside the McCaskey financial playbook.

    So look for a relatively unknown name who is 1 or 2 levels below the proven gang to get the nod with equal risk to both parties but at a lower cost in minimum contract length and a lower base salary. What am I missing?

  67. Dear Denver Fans….Ok i get that your ‘upset” that Jay didn’t want to play for you anymore, but are your realy mad at Jay or the fact that you fired a Hall of Fame coach to hire a rookie coach who thought he was the next Bill Belichek and dismantaled your entire team? Fact is Jay is the best QB we have ever had in Chicago, he is one of the toughest QB’s i have ever seen.

  68. moeman79 says:Dec 31, 2012 2:21 PM

    Dear Denver Fans….Ok i get that your ‘upset” that Jay didn’t want to play for you anymore, but are your realy mad at Jay or the fact that you fired a Hall of Fame coach to hire a rookie coach who thought he was the next Bill Belichek and dismantaled your entire team? Fact is Jay is the best QB we have ever had in Chicago, he is one of the toughest QB’s i have ever seen.

    Oh man…keep drinking the kool-aid. After all of that, Denver still has more playoff wins than the Bears since Cutler moved over, and Denver has the #1 seed in the AFC while the Bears are out. Erik Kramer was better – on a worse team.

  69. A sad issue with Lovie, the team liked him, mgmt. liked him, and most of these posters who dislike him would love him as their next door neighbor. Unfortunately results, meaning getting to the play-offs or at least a 50-50 record against the Packers is the measuring stick.

  70. When he said the Green Bay game wasn’t a must-win, when it was — not only for the division but to keep their playoff destiny out of other teams’ hands — should have been the death knell for his career in Chicago.

  71. Being a successful head coach includes having the ability to put the proper position coaches and coordinators in place to succeed. Lovie has no clue on the offensive side of the ball. None. He has had the same receivers coach for 5 or 6 years and has gone through 4 OCs in that time. He hired an OC who had been out of football for 5 years and another who had never called plays.

    The players have also gotten too comfortable. Hardly anyone was fighting for a position. That will change and I welcome that. The fact that so many players were surprised speaks volumes. They haven’t beaten the Packers in 4 freakin years! That is unacceptable and if the players don’t realize that then the culture in that locker room was broken.

  72. the NFL is changing just about as fast as professional poker. the days of the old geezers running things are over as the young guns are changing the rules and the method of play.

    Vince Lombardi would either have to morph into a different approach or he wouldn’t last 2 years in today’s game with the old iron fist act.

  73. This is going to hurt the Bears, a lot of talent on that team but a lot of the talent is also used to playing for one coach. Either they’re going to do like Hester and retire or some of them may end up going other places, including to where ever Lovie ends up.

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