LAKE FOREST – This is a New Year’s tradition that no one wants to see, yet around Halas Hall keeps happening this decade.
As season comes to an end around January 1st and so does a coaching tenure. Lovie Smith had it happened in 2012, Marc Trestman was next just two years later.
Add John Fox to that list of Bears coaches that were shown the door after a disappointing four months to end the season.
On Monday the team confirmed that the coach has been fired after three seasons which the Bears went 14-34 and never came close to reaching the postseason. This year’s 5-11 record sealed the fate of Fox, who becomes the third coach to be fired by the franchise since the end of the 2012 season.
The move by the Bears is not a surprise, considering the teams inability to get any winning momentum started under Fox, who came to Chicago after being let go by the Broncos following an early exit from the 2014 NFL Playoffs. A success from the start, Fox won four AFC West Championships and the AFC title in 2013 when Peyton Manning joined the club.
A loss in the Divisional Playoffs to the Colts led to his ouster and his arrival in Chicago, one which hoped to bring stability and victory to the franchise after a disastrous finish to the Mark Trestman era. It was also the start of the Ryan Pace regime as general manager, and immediately it appeared that Fox would be starting off a rebuilding of a new era for the team.
As it turns out, his best season was his first as quarterback Jay Cutler got another wind with change in regime, especially with offensive coordinator Adam Gase who came with Fox from Denver. From early October through mid-November, the Bears won four of six games to get within a game of the .500 mark. Even after a loss to his former team at Soldier Field, Fox scored his biggest win as the coach of the team with a 17-13 win on Thanksgiving night to keep the Bears moderately in the playoff hunt.
Two close home losses to the 49ers and Redskins in back-to-back weeks derailed those hopes as the Bears finished 6-10.
With Gase gone and Cutler injured for a significant part of the year, the Bears slid far in 2016 as they endured one of the worst regular seasons in franchise history. Hope that was kicked up with a Halloween night over the Vikings at home disappeared in a miserable second half which the Bears lost 7 of 8 games. Their 3-13 record was the worst for a 16-game season in franchise history and left them with the third overall pick in the draft.
A draft night stunner dramatically changed the course of Fox’s 2017 season as the Bears traded up to take Mitchell Trubisky out of North Carolina. Immediate struggles by anointed started Mike Glennon, who signed as a free agent to replace the released Cutler, drew calls from fans for the rookie to play. That happened in just the fifth game of the year as Trubisky made his debut against Minnesota on Monday night in a three-point loss at Soldier Field.
The rookie quarterback had his good moments and his bad, but in the end inexperience and injuries were too much to overcome. The Bears scored impressive wins over the playoff bound Steelers early in the season then the Panthers late in the year, but couldn’t make a legitimate run at a postseason berth. A loss at home to the Packers in Week 10 all but sealed the coach’s fate when his replay of a Benny Cunningham touchdown led to a turnover and the team lost to Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers.
That came after two weeks to prepare and the Packers on short rest after a Monday night and the team never recovered. The got a pair of wins in December but at that point the season was lost and another coaching career for the man leading the Bears headed towards another quick finish.