It seems like forever ago that the Bears were in the Super Bowl. Yes, they look good this year. But could they look better? Could they play with more intensity? How much blame or credit do we assign to Lovie?
The Bears are 23-25 since that magical Super Bowl year. And though we're 9-3 now, you get the feeling we could be 3-9 next year when the Schedule Gods seek vengeance. The only thing consistent about Lovie's Bears is their inconsistency. Up one year, down the next. It's puzzling.
The elite coaches in the league can make the playoffs with some degree of regularity. Even bumbling oafs like Norv Turner can't botch things so badly as to negate the talent in their locker room. The best coaches find ways to patch holes and cover for deficiencies.
Then you've got a tier of coaches who make the playoffs every now and then. They hover within a few games of .500. A favorable schedule here, a gift call from the refs there and they may even earn a bye. But those coaches don't win Super Bowls. They may make it to one, but they won't win. Remember when John Fox took the Panthers to the big game? Now he's prepping his resume in the hope that someone will allow him to muck their stables next year.
At the bottom of the league, we have coaches who make bad decisions, alienate players and fans, and allow players to run wild on field and off. Those goofballs don't last. See also: Three(!) coaches fired midseason this year.
Lovie is probably in the middle group. It's rare that you have moments where you feel the Bears outsmarted someone. When you even pay attention to Lovie, it's because of a failure to call for a replay or something. He's not a big personality. Now that you think of it, who's the biggest personality on the team? Most of these guys are mute.
Coach Smith has two playoff wins on his resume. Two losses. It seems most people feel pretty 50/50 about this 50/50 coach. This season's outcome may tip the scales one way or the other. It's probably about time we make up our mind about this guy.