Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been one of Lovie Smith‘s biggest supporters. But I also recognize that the clock is running on the Chicago Bears and this is as good of a shot as the Bears have of winning a Super Bowl. If the Bears make the playoffs this year, then Smith will be the team’s coach in at least one game in 2013. But what about the start of the next regular season? Will this be the end of the rope in Chicago for Smith? Will General Manager Phil Emery want to bring in his own coach?
There are two scenarios in which I see Smith not returning next season. The first would be if another team hires him away from the Bears. With several jobs opening up this off-season, I could see a team like the Dallas Cowboys potentially seeking Smith due to his Texas roots and the respect he commands from his players. Even though Smith is under contract from the Bears, a team might be willing to trade for his services.
The second scenario would involve the Bears failing to make the playoffs (seems less likely) or failing to win a post-season game. There are many factors that dictate how a team performs in the playoffs, but Smith still doesn’t have a Super Bowl win under his belt. Despite his solid record (79-60), he is 3-3 in the playoffs and one NFC title. The Bears have failed to make the playoffs six-of-the-nine seasons he’s been head coach. While Smith’s teams are generally competitive, they’re not dominant. Smith has been through several offensive coordinators (four) and tried (and failed) to be head coach and defensive coordinator at the same time.
The ownership of the Bears has on numerous occasions expressed their respect and admiration for Smith. Even when things have been at its worst while he’s been head coach, the organization has kept Smith around. While there are better coaches, the list grows shorter every year. The fact remains that Smith’s teams are competitive. All we can ask for is a Super Bowl championship.
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