The Chicago Bears have fired coach Lovie Smith, who has been with the team for the past nine seasons, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Despite starting the season 7-1 the Bears missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, finishing third in the NFC North with a 10-6 record.
Under Smith the Bears remained a defense first minded team and never developed an offense. Their inability to protect quarterback Jay Cutler with an inadequate offensive line left him exposed to hits an injuries. Cutler missed two games this season and after starting the season 7-3 last year Cutler missed the teams final six games.
The Bears never ranked higher then 15th in offense, this season they were 28th under first year offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Tice found ways to target wide out Brandon Marshall but never involved anyone else in the offense.
Smith took over after Dick Jauron was fired at the end of the 2003 season. Smith biggest failure as a head coach was four offensive coordinators during his Bears career and a passing game that seemed to burden the rest of the team. He finishes his nine years with the Bears with a 81-63 record.
The Bears have already asked the Denver Broncos for permission to interview offensive coordinator Mike McCoy for their head coaching vacancy.