Sorry, Coach Ditka: The Bears Were Right to Fire Lovie Smith

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by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

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The problem with sports — televised sports, in particular — is that fandom and drama muddies the Venn Diagram of Professional vs. Personal.

So, with no disrespect to Mike Ditka or the just-departed Bears coach Lovie Smith, we have to ask Mr. Mustache to tone down the vitriol. Obviously, Ditka has earned the right to speak and the right to be upset. And, if he really felt Lovie Smith was the right guy for the Chicago Bears — and there’s no proof saying he wasn’t — then he was correct to blast the Bears for firing him.

Still, Ditka spent a long time on the sidelines wearing aviators. It appears they obscured his eyesight.

“If Minnesota would have lost last night and the Bears were in the playoffs this wouldn’t have happened. That’s a fact. So how stupid is it then? It really is stupid,” Ditka said on Tuesday, a day after Smith was booted from Bratwurst City (via NBC Sports). “If they would have made the playoffs this would not have happened. They did what they did. They took care of their business and Minnesota played a great game against Green Bay.

“I think Lovie is a very good coach.”

Lovie Smith seems like a fine man. A good coach. Great, even. But, he had his chance to win with Chicago. He had his chance several times and his teams often didn’t come through. He was in a Super Bowl and, while nobody can blame him for a tight loss considering that he had Rex Grossman as his starting quarterback, he didn’t win.

He has been to NFC Championships, and he’s had teams that should have contended. This year’s Bears are one example and, after a 10-6 record, they’ve missed the playoffs.

Lovie Smith probably didn’t deserve to get fired. Nobody deserves to get fired, really. That’s what Ditka had a problem with.

But, really, is that really the question here?

Ditka echoed that Lovie is a good coach. He said he shouldn’t have been fired.

Okay… so what?

Isn’t it ironic that a no-nonsense, championship-ring-wearing former pro and coach like Mike Ditka doesn’t understand what a coach’s only job is?

It’s winning, dammit.

Lovie Smith didn’t win. He couldn’t win. And, in the minds of the Chicago Bears, he wasn’t going to win.

That’s the issue, Mike.

It’s not Personal. It’s Professional.

If you’re going to disagree with them, do it for the right reasons. Say Lovie Smith is better than anyone out there. Say he could have won a Super Bowl. Say he’s better than Mike McCarthy, Tom Coughlin, John Fox, Mike Tomlin, and Bill Belichick.

And, if you don’t believe any of those points, then don’t say anything at all.

Sadly, Mike, you missed the point.