Likely the biggest surprise of the day, Lovie Smith has been fired as head coach of the Chicago Bears according to a report by Ian Rapoport, citing a source close to the situation.
The firing is surprising to many, but not altogether unforeseen. It was apparent down the stretch that the Bears coach was coming under more and more pressure. Chicago was nearly able to sneak into the playoffs with their win over the Lions yesterday, but the Vikings upset the Packers, bouncing Chicago from postseason contention.
The Bears started the season with seven wins and only one loss, but they stumbled during the second half of the season. To top that off, Smith has only led the Bears to one playoff appearance in the last six years.
A year ago, the Bears brought in Phil Emery as their new general manager. Usually, you would see a head coach stick around following the season Smith and the Bears had, especially considering Smith's past success with the team, but new GMs like to make their own mark on their team with their own head coach, and that was likely the final straw in the decision to fire Smith.
The Bears will likely now have to ponder quarterback Jay Cutler's future with the team. Blowing up a coaching staff usually means taking a step back before moving forward in terms of wins and losses, and there would be no better time in the foreseeable future than now to consider drafting a young quarterback of the future in Chicago.