Chicago Bears Reportedly Fire Head Coach Lovie Smith

Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 31, 2012

Lovie Smith's nine-year tenure with the Chicago Bears has officially come to a crashing halt.  

The news of the head coach's firing comes from's Ian Rapoport.

BREAKING: #Bears have fired coach Lovie Smith, I'm told #BlackMonday

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2012

If you were to predict this after the first half of the NFL season, you would have swiftly been taken to an insane asylum. 

The Bears, thanks to what seemed like a defensive touchdown every week, jumped out to a 7-1 record and looked like a legitimate threat to the No. 1 seed in the NFC. 

But things quickly turned sour.

The defense, which had an astounding 44 takeaways and nine touchdowns on the season, continued to overwhelm opponents, but Chicago fell victim to inconsistent offensive play and a menacing second-half schedule and dropped five of its last eight games. 

A 10-6 record is certainly nothing to belittle, but missing the playoffs after such an encouraging start was clearly unacceptable for this organization, and Smith has taken the brunt of the blame. 

It has been an extremely long, unique road for the 54-year-old.

As a mere 22-year-old, he was hired as a defensive coordinator at the prep level, where he stayed for a couple of years before being brought on as Tulsa's linebackers coach. 

From there, Smith spent time with six different universities as an assistant coach before taking his talents to the NFL in 1996, where he signed on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers again as a linebackers coach. 

He then became the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, who went to the Super Bowl in his first year, before finally taking the Bears' head coaching job—his first-ever head-coaching job, mind you—in 2004. 

Smith led the Bears to an 81-63 (.563) record, three division championships, a Super Bowl appearance in the 2006-07 season and four seasons with double-digit wins.

Nonetheless, Chicago has now missed the postseason two years in a row, and it was time for change at the top.