Doc Rivers has always stuck up for fellow members of the coaching community. He’s also a Chicago native. So it was doubly hard for him on Monday when he heard that longtime Bears coach Lovie Smith had been sacked.
Despite an 81-63 record in nine years in Chicago, and a win in the final game of the season, Smith was sent packing Monday. The Bears failed to make the playoffs when the Packers lost to the Vikings on Sunday afternoon, eliminating Chicago from playoff contention despite the team’s 10-6 record.
“I am really disappointed,” Rivers said at Celtics practice on Tuesday. “The way I look at it, when somebody gets fired, it shouldn’t be because somebody else lost. You think about it, if the Packers had beat the Vikings, then Lovie keeps his job. That makes no sense to me. It’s amazing.”
Rivers wasn’t the only person with that reasoning this week. Former Bears coach Mike Ditka was also pretty irked with the move, considering Smith would likely still have his job if Chicago had snuck into the playoffs.
Rivers chalked up the firing to being another one of those things that just happen in pro sports.
“I think he’s been a very, very, very good coach,” Rivers said. “Over his tenure, I think he has the fourth best record in the NFL. Listen, it’s our jobs, and we all know that’s how you leave most of the time.”
Smith, like Rivers, is known as a defensive-minded coach. But the two may have other similarities soon. After Rivers was fired from the Magic after five seasons, he led the Celtics — his second team — to a championship.
Smith has only ever known the Bears. But his second team may give him a chance to get to where Chicago could never take him.