Updated: February 2, 2013 6:19AM
We haven’t seen a scientific poll, but we’ll go out on a limb and guess that the Bears’ decision Monday to fire Lovie Smith after nine seasons is favored by the great majority of Bears fans. Count us among ’em.
And it should be no surprise, given the team’s failure to make the playoffs for the sixth time in Smith’s nine seasons, second-half collapses for two straight seasons and having lost eight of the last nine games against the rival Green Bay Packers.
Smith should have no complaints. The McCaskeys showed him much loyalty — giving him plenty of chances to mold the Bears into an elite team, and he did build a consistently impressive defense, one capable of winning a Super Bowl. But Smith failed miserably to find an offensive mind who could produce a scoring attack to complement his defense.
His choices for offensive coordinators signaled that he was mostly clueless on that side of the ball, and in a pass-happy NFL where offense is increasingly emphasized that was his fatal flaw.
Of course, Smith is not entirely to blame for the Bears’ frustrating finishes the past two years. Former general manager Jerry Angelo, who hired Smith, failed to give him much help through the draft, which led to his firing a year ago.
Bears president Ted Phillips made it clear then that ownership blamed Angelo’s inability to acquire better talent via the draft (forcing the team to turn too often to the costly free-agent market) as the major reason for the team’s disappointing performance. But Phillips indicated that he and ownership expected the Bears to make the playoffs this season, and when they didn’t, Smith’s fate was sealed.
For fans, it was always tough to love Lovie — he showed little emotion or personality, always talked in bland “coachspeak” and appeared arrogant more often than not. That makes it easier to see him fired.
But fans really don’t care whether their coach is likable, they just want him to win and get the team in the playoffs regularly. Smith didn’t do that, and it was time for him to go.