Bears’ coaching change no guarantee of success

Lovie Smith was fired following a 10-6 season.

Duane Burleson/AP

Lovie Smith was fired following a 10-6 season.

Former Bear Lovie Smith became the 15th head coach since the NFL-AFL merger to be fired after completing a winning season.

Of the previous 14 occasions, the team that changed its coach had a winning record the next season just seven times, and reached the playoffs five times.


And only one finished with a better record under the new guy: the 2002 Buccaneers with Jon Gruden — whom Tampa Bay fired six years later after he had a winning season.

A look at the coaches fired after a winning season:
Coach, team Fired after Following season, coach
George Allen, Rams 9-4-1 (missed playoffs) in 1970  8-5-1 (missed playoffs), Tommy Prothro
Charley Winner, Cardinals 8-5-1 (missed playoffs) in 1970  4-9-1 (missed playoffs), Bob Hollway
Bum Phillips, Oilers 11-5 (lost wild card) in 1980  7-9 (missed playoffs), Ed Biles
Leeman Bennett, Falcons 5-4 (lost wild card) in 1982  7-9 (missed playoffs), Dan Henning
John Mackovic, Chiefs 10-6 (lost wild card) in 1986  4-11 (missed playoffs), Frank Gansz
Marty Schottenheimer, Browns 10-6 (lost in wild card) in 1988  9-6-1 (lost AFC title game), Bud Carson
Jerry Glanville, Oilers 9-7 (lost wild card) in 1989  9-7 (lost wild card), Jack Pardee
Buddy Ryan, Eagles 10-6 (lost wild card) in 1990  10-6 (missed playoffs), Rich Kotite
Art Shell, Raiders 9-7 (missed playoffs) in 1994  8-8 (missed playoffs), Mike White
Tony Dungy, Buccaneers 9-7 (lost wild card) in 2001  12-4 (won Super Bowl), Jon Gruden
Steve Mariucci, 49ers 10-6 (lost divisional round) in 2002  7-9 (missed playoffs), Dennis Erickson
Marty Schottenheimer, Chargers 14-2 (lost divisional round) in 2006  11-5 (lost AFC title game), Norv Turner
Jon Gruden, Buccaneers 9-7 (missed playoffs) in 2008  3-13 (missed playoffs), Raheem Morris
Eric Mangini, Jets 9-7 (missed playoffs) in 2008  9-7 (lost AFC title game), Rex Ryan

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