When the Chicago Bears let Lovie Smith go after the 2012 season, he still had a year left on his contract, and chose to take a year off, rest, re-evaluate, and cash his payroll checks that the Bears cut him every month.
He'd had a long, tough run in Chicago over a ten-year span, and it was incredibly smart for him to take a season and let the dust settle.
Fast-forward to 2014, and Lovie was hired as head coach by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, re-uniting him with a city he'd worked in before, and in a place he genuinely seemed like he wanted to be.
But after only two seasons (and an 8-25 record), the Bucs decided to fire Lovie Smith on Wednesday night. He still had two years on his contract remaining, valued at about $5 million per year, and clearly the team's decision sent shock waves through the organization.
Players took to Twitter to express their disbelief, and come to find out Lovie found out about it through a late-night phone call on Wednesday.
Bucs Nation has five reasons why Tampa Bay pulled the plug on Lovie so quickly, but one of those, I think, is likely the crux of the matter:
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was being interviewed for head coaching jobs around the league, and the Bucs didn't want to lose him. So it would be no surprise if news surfaces today that Koetter has been promoted to head coach in Tampa, keeping him and their franchise quarterback Jameis Winston together.
My question now is: Will Lovie Smith be a head coach again in 2016? His record was certainly poor in his first two seasons in Tampa Bay, and the defense, which is his specialty, was pretty bad. It could be argued that the lack of talent was due to two consecutiev drafts focusing almost exclusively on offense, but then you look at the free agent acquisitions that busted and the talent they let walk, and you may think otherwise.
Will Lovie get another shot at a head coaching position in 2016, or does his sit out another year? Or does he need to take a step back and be a highly paid defensive coordinator?