SBD/December 31, 2012/Franchises

Black Monday: Lovie Smith Fired By Bears After 10-6 Season; Crennel Out In K.C.

In addition to the Eagles and Browns, there are several other NFL teams making coaching changes following the conclusion of the '12 regular season. THE DAILY provides a roundup of the possible movement. 

ALL OUT OF LOVIE: In Chicago, Dan Pompei reports the Bears fired coach Lovie Smith despite the team finishing with a 10-6 record. The Bears began the season 7-1, but finished the year with a 3-5 mark (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 12/31). ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the team has "sent out consent forms requesting permission to interview head-coaching candidates" (TWITTER.com, 12/31). In Chicago, David Haugh writes teams “typically don't fire coaches after 10-6 seasons,” but this is “no typical season.” Haugh: “At some point, Bears management must hold Smith accountable for years of consistently failing to field a legitimate playoff offense. Clearly this wasn't one despite talent at the skill positions” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/31).

ROMEO IS BLEEDING: ESPN.com's Schefter reports Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel was fired Monday, but not GM Scott Pioli, "at least not now." The Chiefs finished the season 2-14 and secured the No. 1 pick in the '13 NFL Draft after being "predicted to finish near the top of the AFC West." The Chiefs have not won a postseason game since '93 (ESPN.com, 12/31). In K.C., Sam Mellinger reports the Chiefs “completed the least competitive season in their franchise’s proud history” Sunday with a loss to the Broncos, and the team’s situation is “an indefensible mess.” Crennel is “the coach of a team with five Pro Bowlers and two wins,” and Pioli is the GM “who brought in just one of those Pro Bowlers” (K.C. STAR, 12/31). NFL Network's Albert Breer said, “The fan backlash if they were to keep any element of the current football operations would be pretty severe." The Hunt family history "is to be patient with people." Breer: "That would lead you to believe that they might give Pioli another shot.” However, Pioli is "going to have to present a plan to Clark Hunt that makes sense, and Clark Hunt is going to have to give Scott Pioli one more chance at getting the head coach and quarterback position correct”("Around The League Live," NFL Network, 12/31).

CHARGERS TO FIRE TURNER, SMITH: In S.F., Vic Tafur reported Chargers coach Norv Turner “expects to be fired” Monday, as the team will miss the playoffs for the third straight season. Turner after Sunday's game against the Raiders, "We're going to meet with the team and I'm sure they'll start looking for a new coach” (SFGATE.com, 12/30). In San Diego, Nick Canepa reports Chargers President & Chair Dean Spanos Monday also will fire GM A.J. Smith after 10 seasons with the franchise. Spanos “had to make a business decision.” Canepa: “There have been TV blackouts. Apathy and anger has been growing in his fan base. There is a chance of losing this town as he attempts to get a new stadium built. In the past, Spanos hasn’t always heeded the fans’ wishes, but this time he had no choice.” It is expected that Dir of Player Personnel Jimmy Raye “will take over” as GM (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/31).

GAILEY OUT IN BUFFALO: In Buffalo, Mark Gaughan reports the Bills fired coach Chan Gailey "after three unsuccessful seasons." Gailey's firing means the Bills "will have their sixth head coach in a 14-year period in the 2013 season." Bills GM Buddy Nix "may well be ... next to go," but he was "uncertain of his status as of Sunday's season-ending game" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 12/31). NFL Network's Charley Casserly disagreed with the decision to fire Gailey saying, "They have to stick to a program and see it through. It’s three years, get sick and tired of somebody, let’s get them out of here. You have to ignore the fan base, the pundits, everybody up there” ("Around The League Live," NFL Network, 12/31).

SIT AND TALK THINGS OVER: Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that he will sit down with team Owner Jerry Richardson "in a few days to evaluate the season.” The club went 7-9 this year, ending the season winning six of its last nine games. Rivera said, "The process is going to begin when we get back to Charlotte. Mr. Richardson has been fair and I appreciate the opportunity that he's given me and we'll see how things unfold" (NOLA.com, 12/30). The AP's Steve Reed reported on his Twitter account, "I'd highly doubt if we'll hear anything on Ron Rivera's future today, if even this week. I'm told Jerry Richardson is not around today" (TWITTER.com, 12/31). NFL Network's Michael Lombardi said, "I think that decision is going to wait until they decide on where the new general manager comes from, whether they stay in house or bring someone in” ("Around The League Live," NFL Network, 12/31).

GRANTED A REPRIEVE: In S.F., Al Saracevic writes the "ax is unlikely to fall” on Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen after one season. The odds are that Raiders Owner Mark Davis "will retain his top two hires, but the assistant coaches and the roster will undergo major overhauls.” McKenzie and Allen have “failed to emerge this season as convincing leaders, and communication has played a role." They both have the "brains and the background to succeed at this level, but neither inspires great confidence on a personal level” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/31). In Nashville, David Climer wrote signs "point to Mike Munchak’s return as head coach in 2013” for the Titans. Team Owner Bud Adams turns 90 this week, and there is “little reason to suspect he has the stomach for a second coaching change in two years.” Climer: “At his age, I can’t see Bud starting from scratch” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 12/30). Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes Monday “might not bring change or clarity” for the Cardinals, as that “might take a while.” While Steve Keim is “expected to take over as general manager, the future of Ken Whisenhunt could be more of a negotiation than a termination” as coach (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/31).
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