The Chicago Bears have decided to fire head coach Lovie Smith following a 10-6 season, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The 2012 season that started with the Bears dominating, but fizzled out in the last eight weeks, causing Chicago to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Word of Smith's potential firing started early Monday morning with reports of assistant coaches in a panic and a subsequent report that the team had already sent out waivers to interview potential head coaching candidates.
Whoa: Bears have sent out consent forms requesting permission to interview head-coaching candidates.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2012
Smith coached for nine seasons in Chicago, leading the Bears to three playoff appearances and a Superbowl birth in 2006. The arrival of Jay Cutler via trade in 2009 was supposed to give Smith the franchise quarterback he needed to take the Bears over the top, but with a 35-28 record since, he was unsuccessful.
Posting a 7-1 record in early November, it appeared the Chicago Bears were prepped for a deep playoff run. A stifling defense, paired with an effective offense made this iteration of Lovie Smith's team appear to be one of the NFC's elite. Beginning Nov. 11 vs. Houston, the wheels came off Chicago's season, finishing down the stretch 3-5. Despite putting five players into the Pro Bowl, the talent wasn't enough to push the Bears into the postseason.
Finishing with a record of 80-64, Lovie Smith's inconsistency will largely mar his tenure. Under his watch the Chicago Bears posted only one back-to-back winning season, and now the Bears' front office will search for the next coach to try and get a talented team over the hump.