Bernstein: Lovie Detractors Not Allowed To Ignore This Season

By Dan Bernstein

Don’t let the results get in the way of a good argument.

At least that seems to be the rallying cry for the hardest-core advocates for a Bears’ coaching change after this season. Around this time last year, that group was represented by a band of mental titans waging a childish, haphazard, public campaign for a crudely-designed, out-of-the-way billboard, pointlessly urging regime change at Halas Hall.

Though that particular set of vermin has presumably scuttled back to dark, damp corners, the “Fire Lovie” sentiment still smolders amid grumbling about the Bears’ cheap division title in a lucky year.

For the record, it is Smith’s third such title in his seven years here. He is 62-48 as Bears’ Head Coach. He has taken a team to the Super Bowl.

Those still with pitchforks duct-taped to their hands, however, feel this year’s performance can be dismissed as mere fluke, and all it has done is blind the world to Smith’s failings. They compare it to the 13 wins Dick Jauron’s team posted in 2001, before he received a contract extension and achieved little thereafter.

The problem with that comparison is the two playoff appearances Smith has on his record, already. Jauron had two fifth-place finishes and a record of 11-21 before his outlier season.

Assessing the job Smith has done, then, must include this year’s work – 10-4 and fighting for better playoff position. It has to count as part of a fair evaluation of whether or not the Bears would be well-served to extend his deal beyond the lame-duck status of 2011.

I’m not diminishing the legitimate criticism of Smith – he’s a good coach, not a great one. His clock management, challenge decisions and player deployment are all fair game. Most importantly, he has not won the Super Bowl.

This is starting to look like a greener-grass problem, where many fans are simply tired of what they have. The idea of new leadership is enticing (and I am not ignoring those who want Jerry Angelo elsewhere, and are considering coaching-change as a means to that end), even despite the surprising performance of this team to date.

But I keep trying to zoom out on the larger picture, and what Smith has accomplished in a league where one struggles to know up from down not just year to year, but week to week.

To the entrenched Smith detractor: this year did not unfold as you expected. Smith’s arrogance and stubbornness at the press conference after last season infuriated you, and a pathetic preseason performance steeled your resolve and cemented your position. You have downplayed each win this year as lucky, only grudgingly giving occasional credit, even to a resurgent defense rededicated to Smith’s core principles.

At some point, doesn’t this year have to matter, somehow? Is any of it legitimate to you? If so, what?

Are you 100% sure, still, that the devil you don’t know is better than the devil you do?

It’s OK to not be as certain as you once were.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Lovie Detractors Not Allowed To Ignore This Season

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM.
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  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

    But is Lovie as good at coaching FOOTWORK as Rex Ryan???

  • Bring Back Kyle Orton

    The Bears will never accomplish anything as long as Cutler is the QB.

    • Bob Loblaw

      Kyle Ortman is lucky to be in football…..

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    That’s why Neckbeard (By Cracky!) will be holding Tim Tebow’s clipboard for the rest of the year.

    • Bring Back Kyle Orton

      It’s because Orton is hurt. Not because of performance.

      • Bring Back Kyle Orton.

        He should be unhappy. Anyone in their right mind would rather have Kyle Orton as their QB than Tim Tebow.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        The Broncos just want to see what Tebow can do.
        They know what Orton can do.

        Orton is a good NFL QB, so I’m not knocking the guy.
        But Cutler stacks up to the first five years of production of the other franchise QBs in the league…there was another blog posting about that by Nick.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        Orton is ready to play again…healed-up.
        He is quoted in the Denver Post (posted on that he is unhappy to be #2 to Tebow when he is ready to play.

  • Terry Boers

    By Cracky

  • bigtime sucker

    Cutler just accomplished something you moron, Orton, when started 6-0 last year, didn’t get the job done. This year he had a worse team around him, especially defensivly but i digress, cutler if healthy will start his first playoff game this season and orton still hasn’t played in one.

    • Bring Back Kyle Orton.

      The Broncos have the worst defense in the league. Plus Orton put up big numbers with horrible offensive talent around him. He made Brandon Lloyd look good for crying out loud.

      • bigtime sucker

        That is a different argument. You said, and I quote, “the bears will never accomplish anything as long as cutler is QB” well you are wrong, the bears just won a division, which is an accomplishment and cutler is their QB. If cutler remains healthy, he will start a playoff game. Orton while maybe deserved to start in 05, did not and has not played in one playoff down, which as long as remains healthy, cutler will this season. That’s an accomplishment. Cutler may have a better defense and special team on his side, but that wasn’t your argument. Orton may be statistically superior this season, and is making B Lloyd look like B Marshall but Cutler made eddy royal look like Steve Smith(Carolina version), so it’s six of one half a dozen of the other in that department. You want to make an argument that Orton is a better QB than make the argument that Orton is a better QB, but don’t try to make an argument that the Bears will never accomplish anything with Cutler as QB 4 days after they just accomplished something, that’s not good arguing.

      • Bob Loblaw

        If Kyle Ortman were the Bears starting QB, the Broncos would win the Superbowl!

  • OB


  • Chet's Inflated Ego


    I thought that should be Hub…he was always licking D!ck Jauron’s arse.

  • Denver Smeghead

    I’m not ignoring this season, I’m just not convinced we won’t get a repeat of the post-Super Bowl Bears, where they missed the playoffs three straight years.

    All year long, Bernstein has said, “Yes, you can be skeptical.” But now? We’re no longer allowed to be skeptics, apparently. So why didn’t he have the gall to argue in Lovie’s favor regarding his two previous North titles and the SP appearance at the beginning of the year when everybody believed this team would royally suck? Or after they started the year 4-3 and everybody was still convinced that they perhaps might not win another game?

    Bernstein is an armchair quarterback when it comes to his convictions. As pointed out yesterday, it’s simply more important that he be right, even if he was wrong just a short time ago.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    I’m worried about the Jets on Sunday.

    Rex Ryan does such a great job of coaching good footwork.
    If the Jets get off on the right foot, they can beat the Bears and have their foot in the door of the playoffs. Rex is a great Coach, he just gets his team to focus on putting one foot in front of the other…
    And such a prankster, when not getting a GD snack he will do the old hot foot trick.
    But maybe there will be a foot of snow on the ground?
    Rex said they won’t kick to Devin, but their Punter might shank one off his foot.
    I guess that’s why it is foot-ball.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      I hope I didn’t put my foot in my mouth with this.

  • Larry

    I went into this season with extremely low expectations and I wanted Lovie gone. Heading into the bye he was sitting on some lucky wins and 2 ugly home losses and the ship was listing heavily. But after the Bears used the break to tailor the offense to the strengths of its quarterback, they stacked some wins. Fortune favors the prepared and at some point lucky turns into good. With a stack of 5 consecutive post-bye wins and an overall 10-4 record, I submit that the Bears are good. While I’m not ready to sign Lovie to a multi-year extension, he deserves credit for a good season and he deserves to be brought back next year.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Good, fair analysis Larry.
      To me, the real problem is JA and his inability to draft well.
      If a new GM was hired (I HOPE!!!) and he wanted to continue with Lovie, that’s OK with me. If he wanted to replace Lovie with his guy, I wouldn’t sit shiva.

      • Denver Smeghead


      • Denver Smeghead

        Err, that was supposed to be in response to Chet’s own new found foot fetish.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        The thing that I find so darn funny with the Mrs. Ryan videos is that I just don’t GET it…I mean, I just don’t begin to comprehend that fetish.

        Ah well.

        When Rex says famously, let’s go get a GD snack…he runs for the foot-long hot-dogs.

  • Mike North

    Dan, I need some extra cash, can I come over and shovel your driveway?

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Dan said you can also turn on the lights and appliances on Shabbos.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      But Coppock said that Mike Nort can just print money.


      Could it be that Coppock is full of sh!t???

      And Nort is doing so well with the coveted 9-12 Sunday evening slot on Fox/WIND.

  • Ihavestinkyfeet

    I suppose I could live with Lovie, but Angelo certainly should go.

    • Meatless Meatball

      I’d honestly be curious to see what Lovie would do with a different, maybe better, GM. Jerry seems to at least have learned over the past few years how to make the big splashes (Cutler, Peppers), but his drafts have been… well, mixed, at best: he’s found some good talent in later rounds, but he has yet to draft somebody great. If Lovie had some discernible talent to work with coming out of the draft, I have to think, given the results of his tenure so far here in Chicago, that the Bears might be able to field a winner more often.

      • IhaveSmellyFeet

        Angelo’s record with 1st round draft picks has been terrible for an entire decade. It’s crippling to a team because you have to pay those first rounders big money and if you draft them poorly, that salary is lost. An NFL team needs to average at least 25% success rate on 1st rounders blooming into top 10 in their respective positions. Outside of the one good year Tommie Harris had, every 1st rounder drafted by Lovie has been an average or below average NFL player for the Bears.

        His drafting of Cedric Benson was a terrible idea. They had a solid rusher and passed on the likes of Aaron Rodgers, DeMarcus Ware and Shawn Merrimen to take Benson.

  • AT3374

    Bears 34

    Jets 10

    Ditka…sausages …Ditka

  • bigtime sucker

    what? autographs for tattoos? that’s a violation? a 4 game violation? the ncaa sucks. that’s the dumbest thing i have ever heard, what? of course, in the big ratings highly coorporatized, if pryor doesn’t play nobody will watch sugar bowl, it’s ok, but 4 games next season, if i am pryor, even if i was only guarenteed a 4th round pick, i am coming out. that’s not justice, that’s lunancy.

  • Mike North's Mustache

    J.A. should probably go. I also think Lovie is kinda meh as a game coach i dont care what he says or doesnt say or what he thinks fans may or may not know about football. All i know is his record and the fact the his team almost never quits on him the players like him and play hard for him. but for the love of god get a GM here who can FIND talent.

  • Kevin S

    “Are you 100% sure, still, that the devil you don’t know is better than the devil you do?”

    Did Bernsie summon his inner Jim O’Donnell for today’s blog?

  • Dr. That Doesn't Help People

    Living in Denver and witnessing Tebowmania first hand makes me want to puke every single day. These pot-smoking high-country mid-market thin air breathing morons actually think he is their savior. Puke Puke Puke. The skiing is epic here though, so that is good.

    • Denver Smeghead

      Heh. Yeah, I used to think the kowtowing for Elway was bad.

      • Dr. That Doesn't Help People

        Have you heard about Elway joining the Broncos’ front office or has that already happened? I don’t know much about Elway but what can he possibly do at that level? Can’t wait for Fox 31 news tonight and yet another three segments on Tebowmania – puke.

      • Denver Smeghead

        I’ve heard about it since it’s been on the news. But rumors are always swirling around Elway and whether he’s going to join/buy the Broncos.

  • meesohawnee

    Simon says “talk football” you must talk football. or the great suami bernstein will fill your stockings with lovie coal.

  • White Owl

    About 15 years ago, Cleveland Browns fans wanted their incompetent coach, Bill Belichick, fired and literally drove owner, Art Modell out of town, who took the Browns with him.

    We all know what has transpired since then with Belichick gaining legendary status.

    Some of Lovie’s game decisions have been maddening, but I do like his steady hand and the players do like him. While I’m not ready to make a favorable comparison between Lovie and Belichick, I have been a fan long enough to remember some real dogs who coached the Bears.

  • bigtime sucker

    ok for peopel who want lovie gone, who replaces him? Cower? He wants to be in new york more than Carmelala Vazquez-anthony. john fox, him and jack del rio are basically white Lovies, sometimes in the playoffs, sometimes not, good defenses, iffy offenses, nahhh i will pass. josh mcdaniels? nah. wade phillips? nah. jeff fisher? same thing, sometimes in, sometimes out bad offense good defense. basically everyone out there is lovie smith in a white body, even tony dungy, although at least dungy has won a superbowl. so i don’t see the need to get rid of him

    • bigtime sucker

      and don’t say ron rivera, we have no clue what he wants to do offensivly, which is the biggest area of need.


    The Denver Broncos are bad at football, and they would like to see what they have with Tim Tebow the last 2 weeks. The Broncos are a mess to begin with, and will be watching the playoffs on TV, hopefully in HD next month. If Kyle Orton doesn’t want to be in Denver anymore, I wouldn’t mind having Kyle back here…as a backup to Jay Cutler. I think we’ve seen as much as Todd Collins as fans would like to see after the 4 interception debacle vs. the Panthers in Charlotee and there’s appears to be a great deal of doubt about whether Caleb Hanie’s an NFL quality quarterback either. I don’t understand why Orton’s all bent out of shape. His current team really sucks…

  • FeelMeFeets

    Oooooh, me likey to smellum the feets of Danny O’BernSTINE!

    Mmmmmmm, Tasty Feets!

    Larry “Bucktooth Bandit” Holmes has phunky librarian Urkelfeet I bet.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego


  • bigtime sucker

    orton frustrated? what about mcnabb?

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      but broadcasting doesn’t pay 10M a year….but you are right, he’d be a good broadcaster

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      yeah, you are right bts
      what a disaster…trading a 2 and 4 for 11 games.
      and Rex is the replacement
      don’t know where McNabb goes next year

      • bigtime sucker

        if i were him, the broadcast booth. you can’t tarnish your accomplishments there and he has a charasmatic personality and knows enough football to make it work. i am not joking

  • Bob in San Diego

    I have a non-sequitur question for everyone. Bernsie brought up a few weeks back bringing a second NBA team to Chicago. How would everyone feel about bringing in an AFC team in the NFL? I know Bears fans are NFL hungry enough to sell out Soldier for 16 weeks (or if they new team owners are smart they can build a stadium they both can share, like the Giants/Jets). Also – this instantly draw in the ‘Fire Lovie, fire Angelo, fire Mike McCaskey’ group.

    Full disclosure – after the Super Bowl year, I hated how the Bears squandered their talent an blamed it on Ditka/the McCaskey’s and became an Oilers fan because of Warren Moon. Heck, I didn’t like the Bears until I moved to San Diego 4 years ago – still followed them yet I couldn’t root for them. But I know that if Chicago had a 2nd team, they would’ve had a fan for life in me.

    Just a thought – probably rediculou but wanted to get everyone’s temperature.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Longshot Bob, but……..

      Let’s go back about 20 years ago with the Miami Dolphins.
      Joe Robbie was a wealthy man but he was not a zillionaire.
      When he died, to make a long story short, the heirs did not have the cash to pay the IRS all the Estate Tax due (no state estate tax in Florida). So they had to sell the team to a guy who was mega-wealthy to generate the funds to pay the IRS.
      That’s the shot in the longshot I see Bob.
      The McCaskey Family is very wealthy but they are not mega-wealthy.
      Despite the breaks in the recent tax bill compromise (for 2 years), the high end estate tax is still 35% (I seem to remember). Plus there is an Illinois state estate tax. The McCaskey Family might be enticed by a big chunk of cash as “territory rights fees” that they could save to use to pay the inevitable estate taxes on the transfer of the very valuable team down a generation…so they can keep Papa Bear’s team in the family.
      Put me down for season tickets!
      And Merry Christmas to you and yours Bob.

    • bigtime sucker

      bob, you live in so cal, you should know that the next city to get an NFL franchise will be your neighbors to the south LA, now if there are multiple teams needing to be moved, and some rich freak wants to come to chicago and finance their own stadium, a closed roof mega complex that can attract a superbowl and an NCAA final four and a college bowl game and would be a great place to host a wrestlemania and concerts and boxing matches and make chicago supplant Indianapolis as the place to hold events in the m idwest, than i will fully support your idea

  • Likquid Swordz

    If this team had at least showed up in the Patriots game, then I could give it more credit but I cant help to think how they lose to bad Redskins and Seahawks teams (at home) and struggle against equally bad Bills and Lions teams.

    • bigtime sucker

      i was thinking about that game last night, how different would that game had been if urhlacher catches that pass he tipped or chris harris caught the tipped ball and if peppers catches the ball he batted down(which he shoulld have, he would have had a pick 6 if he did), but harris overran the ball and the next damn play the patriots scored 6 and i believe they scored a TD on the drive where peppers batted that ball down as well. we would be talking about a much better game, but closeness only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades and the bears didn’t make the play. I think about that seahawks and redskins game and can’t help think what those games would have been like with the current game plan the bears are running now as opposed to the gameplans they ran for those games. i dismiss those games because they threw the ball so much in those games, now they are more balanced and i think if they replayed those games we win those with the system adjusted for balance

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