Why No Love For Lovie?

Angry Trib columnist tears The Sporting News a new one

David Haugh is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He covers the Bears almost year-round. His job is to watch the Bears and gather information about them and the league they play in, and then to write about it. He is very good at this job. Everyone has off days, but Haugh's are few and far between (far fewer than ours, to be sure) and in a city starving for fresh sports voices, Haugh stands out. 

He stands out with subtlety, though. Rarely does Haugh bludgeon his points into submission; he prefers to analyze softly and carry a big information stick. (Sorry, that metaphor was terrible. That's another reason we like Haugh; he doesn't use crappy metaphors like that.) Which is why it's so amusing to see him so worked up about the Sporting News Today's NFL head coaching rankings, in which Lovie Smith was ranked 20th behind such lumninaries as Mike Smith, John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, and Norv Turner, among many others. Really? Brad Childress? The guy going ga-ga for a 256-year-old, injured Brett Favre? That's your 11th best coach, Sporting News? Really?

Anyway, Haugh's atypically angry column is dead right: Lovie Smith doesn't get a lot of love. Why is that? Detractors can't point to a lack of success: In five seasons with the Bears, Smith has a winning record (47-37) and an NFC Championship, not to mention two NFC North titles. With recent exception, Smith has put together defenses that have done more than enough to mask the lack of talent on the offensive side of the ball. There's a reason people are so relieved to have Jay Cutler in town. It's because, for once, the Bears might have a little bit of firepower on the other side of the ball. On Smith's side, they've almost always been good.

Perhaps Smith doesn't generate buzz. Perhaps his low-key-to-the-point-of-frustration demeanor makes him seem too detached. Whatever it is, people in Chicago and around the league don't really give Lovie his due. For five years, he's been a pretty darn good coach. Dumb rankings that so blatantly reflect otherwise aren't worth the pixels they're magnified on.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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