Late night Open Thread: Was Lovie Smith a good coach?

USA TODAY Sports

At one point, Lovie Smith was one of the longest-tenured head coaches in all of football. Now he's unemployed. Let's dig a little deeper.

If one were to take the Rorschach Test, with a theme relating to Lovie Smith, rapid-fire answers might include...

- Challenge flags

- Time management

- Player development

- THE FRIGGIN OFFENSE

- Danieal Manning

- Chris Harris

- Bob Babich

... etc., etc.

Overall, Lovie's record of 84-66 ranks third all-time, just after George Halas and Mike Ditka. He was the NFL's lowest paid coach in 2006, but signed to a significant contract extension during the offseason that landed him among the top-5 in the league. This, of course, coming off a Super Bowl appearance. Then things went downhill.

There is much left for debate when it comes to Lovie's successes and challenges as the Chicago Bears head coach, but one thing is for certain:

- He fielded some exceptionally talented defenses, and some exceptionally mediocre offenses. -

Perhaps a large portion of that blame falls to the man that was in charge of personnel: Jerry Angelo.

Where do you correctly apply credit, and blame, when it comes to Lovie's tenure as HC of the Bears? Danieal Manning was developed into a highly-paid safety thanks to Lovie Smith's one-on-one tutoring, and Cedric Benson was shipped out of town thanks in no small part to off-the-field issues.

The first person to take the blame for a team's failures is the head coach, and for many years, Lovie Smith seemed to fall under the protection of the McCaskey family.

But at the end of the day, his numbers were among the most successful the Chicago Bears have ever known, and not good enough to be retained beyond the 2012 season.

How would you rank Lovie Smith as an NFL head coach?

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