Lovie Smith's job looked to be secure after a 7-1 start, but the Bears faltered down the stretch, going 3-5 in the second half of the season. That downward spiral cost Lovie his job on Monday, in probably the most unexpected of the coach firings thus far. Smith had the fourth-most wins in the NFC since becoming the Bears head coach in 2004, but Chicago seemed to tire of constantly falling just short of expectations. Regardless, this move puts Lovie, whose résumé is still pretty good, in the mix to replace one of the myriad other coaches who lost their jobs on Black Monday.
Out of left field?
Coaches normally aren't fired after 10-6 seasons, even if they missed the playoffs. Lovie Smith's job seemed fairly secure.
The right call?
The Bears made a Super Bowl during Lovie's tenure but weren't the kind of perennial contenders ownership likely hoped for.