As the groundswell for the removal of head coach Lovie Smith gains momentum in dimly lit taverns full of navy blue clad patrons, Chicago Bears fans everywhere have a difficult decision to make. The Bears are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs entirely, which would surely seal Lovie's fate, but 10 wins is certainly within reach and is still the likely threshold for a playoff berth.
So, do you embrace a full-scale collapse to give the "Fire Lovie Smith" movement a B-12 shot, or as a fan is it against your nature to want anything other than the victory?
That all depends on just how badly you think Love Smith hinders the Bears’ ability to compete for a championship.
It's a stretch to outright root against the team you grew up wearing fake mustaches for, but as a two-score game like Sunday's Vikings loss winds to a finish, it's hard not to hope to see the game, and concurrently the entire season, politely euthanized. If you're as indifferent to Lovie Smith as I am, it's hard to shut that thought out.
Statistically speaking, there's a lot to like about Lovie Smith's resume as a head coach. He's been here for nine years, he's 17 games over .500, and he's provided consistency to a franchise that struggled throughout the 90s—a time when the only thing the Bears did consistently was lose.
However, if you strip away all the aw-shucks moments and the 9-7 seasons, Lovie's tenure as the head coach in Chicago boils down to one very simple number: zero. That's the amount of championships he's won here, and championship victories are the only thing in sports that are absolute.
If that number was one, the sign outside Big Sandy would likely say "Home of Lovie Smith: Head Coach of the Chicago Bears" for life. Instead, the small Texas town may have to find the room to sneak in the word "former" very soon. That's the power that winning a Super Bowl in Chicago holds—lifetime employment, or at least lifetime adulation.
Sure, Mike Ditka was fired, but that's an underscore to the success of 1985. His face is plastered on the front of restaurants all across town, and in a city where you can find a decent slab of ribs just about anywhere, you go to Ditka's to eat his. You cross your fingers and hope he winds up eating at the table next to you, too (happened to me when I was 12).
I don't know about you guys, but I'm not eating at Lovie Smith's restaurant because it doesn't exist. Even so, I don't think I'd eat there if it did. And that's based entirely on the illogical criteria of whether or not he has won a championship.
That's not going to make his chicken piccata taste any better, but it would certainly lend to the ambiance. It's a shame, too, because I have a feeling that Lovie Smith has a killer chili recipe.
Unfortunately, we'll never know, because Lovie's not a winner. You have to hoist the silver trophy before you get to slap your face on a bar, or a jar of pickles, or whatever the hell it is that Lovie Smith wants to do with his life outside of coaching.
You may make the argument that Smith isn't into that sort of thing, and you're probably right, but the point is that I don't think Lovie Smith will ever win Chicago a Super Bowl. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to me to placate the mediocrity.
Now, the sting of Devin Hester dropping a sure score simply doesn't sting as much, because I know that it puts the Bears one step closer toward parting ways with Smith. I can't really find it in myself to proactively root against Chicago, but I do find myself irrationally hoping that if they do win, they do so in the ugliest way humanly possible.
I don't expect that opinion to be embraced publicly, but secretly you're all hoping for the same thing. Unless you're somehow related to Smith, in which case, you probably have a pretty sweet accent, but your partiality is questionable at best.
My goals for the 2012 season now reflect exactly that. Either the Bears have to win the Super Bowl and silence my weird "Lovie will never have a restaurant" argument, or Lovie Smith is ousted.
Either way, I'll be satisfied—full slab of ribs and a bloody mary at Ditka's satisfied.