After 9 years and 3 playoff wins, the Bears have fired Lovie Smith.
To start, I'd like to say that I don't think Lovie Smith is a terrible coach. Smith led the Bears to a record of 81-63 from 2004 to 2012, and a winning percentage of .563 is 9th of 32 franchises during his tenure. He was also 9-3 in MNF games, for what it's worth (little). There's no doubt in my mind that Lovie Smith will be a head coach in the NFL again, and likely be a successful one. He is a fine defensive mind, and if given an offense wherever he lands, he may even have some postseason success.
However, there was a reason he was fired, and it was his complete inability to cultivate an offense.
Here is a sampling of stats from the Lovie Smith Era:
Bears were 7th in games with 14 or fewer points scored, with 49.
Bears were 1st in games with under 150 passing yards, with 57. Second place was miles away, with 50 (Jets).
Bears were 4th in games with 5 or more sacks allowed, with 21. There were, comically, 5 games in the LSE where the QBs were sacked 7 times or more.
Bears were 1st in the league in games with 3 or more turnovers, with 46. They were merely 2nd in the league in turnovers, total, with 280.
There are definitely complaints with the talent his teams has been given. I'm not going to argue that he's failed with great offensive units. I will say, though, that Lovie's offenses have consistently been either the worst or very close to the worst units in his 9 years. He's had exclusively awful offensive coordinators. His offensive units have never improved. Jay Cutler is seemingly the only quarterback who has to wait until 15 seconds are left on the play clock to get a play in. There are myriad reasons why the Bears have been abysmal offensively, and Lovie Smith is the first one. You've got to field at-least a below-average offensive squad to have serious hopes at a deep playoff run, and many years Smith has failed to do that.
The Bears have essentially squandered one of the best defensive runs in NFL history. They lead the league in takeaways during his era by a comical margin (310 to 283 – the distance between 1 and 2 is greater than the distance between 2 and 8) and games with 3 or more takeaways (again, 49 to 42, the distance between 2 and 15). To hear that a team that had a defense as good as the Bears did only won 3 playoff games (including a team that finished the regular season 7-9 and beating a dome team at home) in 9 years makes it pretty clear that something had to change. Today, something finally did.
Lovie Smith will be a head coach again. He'd be a fantastic defensive coordinator if he'd take the demotion. It's best for Smith and for the Bears to part ways.