Lovie Smith Fired: Highlighting Best Replacements for Bears Head Coach

Alex KayCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 30:  Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy of the Denver Broncos looks on from the sideline during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 37-6.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears have let go of head coach Lovie Smith after nine seasons at the helm of the franchise, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport:

BREAKING: #Bears have fired coach Lovie Smith, I'm told #BlackMonday

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2012

It’s not that surprising, considering the Bears failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season and have only made one postseason appearance in the last six years.

Smith finishes his tenure with an 81-63 record, with his most notable season coming back in 2006—when the Bears lost to the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

The clock is now ticking for GM Phil Emery to make a great hire for this high-profile opening, so let’s take a look at three candidates he should consider for the position.

 

Bill O’Brien, Penn State Head Coach

The Penn State head coach is on numerous radars after leading the Penn State Nittany Lions to an impressive 8-4 record after the Jerry Sandusky scandal rocked the program back in 2011.

O’Brien is well versed with the “Patriot Way” after coming up in the New England organization from 2007 (as an assistant) through 2011 (as the offensive coordinator), and that alone should make him a desirable option for this playoff-starved franchise.

He has minimal head coaching experience—one season with PSU—but the 43-year-old has a ton of promise and proved he can handle adversity with the best of them.

If the Bears are looking to improve their struggling offense while going with a relatively young candidate, O’Brien is their man.

 

Mike McCoy, Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator 

McCoy is the Denver Broncos offensive coordinator, and he’s getting a lot of looks due to that franchise’s success with Peyton Manning under center.

According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the Bears have already requested permission to interview him for the vacancy, and his presence would immediately bolster their offensive attack:

The Bears have already asked for permission to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. He's a very, very hot name right now

— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 31, 2012

Remember, McCoy is the man who helped Tim Tebow reach the postseason back in 2011 and then turned the Broncos into a well-oiled, point-scoring machine when they acquired Manning.

If he could mold the Chicago offense into something nearly as effective as the Denver unit currently is, the team would definitely be making a trip to the playoffs next year.

 

Bill Cowher, Retired Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach

Cowher has been out of coaching since 2006, but the 2005 Super Bowl winner is still a name that comes up from time to time when a big-time position opens up.

It’s no different now that Chicago has a need for a head coach, as Cowher’s style would fit perfectly with the culture of that team.

The 55-year-old is a no-nonsense, no-frills guy that emphasizes execution in all areas of the game and demands the best from each one of his players.

If Cowher were going to get back into coaching, now would be the time. It becomes harder to get back in after every year away from the game—as rules, schemes and everything else constantly changes.

The Chicago Bears job is likely the best available for Cowher and may be his last chance to return to the sideline. 

 

We’ll keep you updated right here on the latest concerning the Chicago Bears quest to replace Lovie Smith.