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Lovie Smith is part of a pretty exclusive group of long-tenured coaches, along with Jack Del Rio and Marvin Lewis.
All three have been the coaches of their teams for a very long time. And nobody quite knows why they haven't yet been fired.
Smith was on the hot seat for a while, then took the Bears to the NFC Championship game, where they were embarrassed by the Packers. Still, a deep playoff run bought him some time, and as a Lions fan, I couldn't be happier.
The crowd noise has a fair amount to do with this, but 14 penalties? Nine false starts? One of them on a punt?
Directly speaking, the players are responsible for these penalties, and the Lions weren't much better in terms of sheer volume of penalties.
But most of the Lions' penalties were issues of defensive aggressiveness, while the Bears' were primarily pre-snap or post-play penalties. That lack of discipline traces directly back to the head coach.
Penalties aside, though, Smith just didn't coach a very good game, and never was this more apparent than at the end of the first quarter.
Smith called a run up the middle on third-and-1 but was unsuccessful at moving the chains. He then sent his offense out to try to draw the defense offsides, they didn't get it so Smith called a timeout. With that extra time to think about it, he sent the offense back out onto the field with the same formation as it had before the timeout (so why didn't they just run the play?).
It was almost the same play as the one that didn't work on third down, and Matt Forte was clearly brought down behind the line of scrimmage. But Smith wasn't done. For no apparent reason, Smith decided to challenge the spot of the ball.
The end result: Instead of taking three points from the automatic Robbie Gould, he spent two timeouts to turn the ball over on downs.
Fun question: If Smith gets fired mid-season, who takes over as interim: Mike Martz or Rod Marinelli?