The Detroit Lions have decided to fire head coach Jim Schwartz, according to Adam Schefter. Schwartz had two years and a reported $12 million remaining on his contract, but the Lions have opted to make a change and find a new head coach for 2014 and beyond.
This news comes after the Lions finished the 2013 season with a 7-9 record, and it comes after yet another collapse in the second half of the season for this team. Back when the Lions were 6-3 and in control of the NFC North, Schwartz's job security wasn't even a topic of concern. Aaron Rodgers was out with an injury, and the Chicago Bears were dealing with the loss of Jay Cutler. The NFC North was the Lions' division to lose, and it looked like the stars were aligning for their first division title in two decades.
Looking at potential Lions coaching candidates
A rundown of various coaches who could potentially be candidates to replace Jim Schwartz as the Detroit Lions' head coach.
Instead of finishing strong and winning the division, though, the Lions proceeded to go 1-6 in their final seven games of 2013. The Lions were eliminated from the NFC North title race and playoff contention in Week 16, and they collapsed thanks to their inability to hang on to fourth-quarter leads and their inability to take care of the ball. Schwartz was far from the only one to blame for this collapse, but it became clear in the final weeks of the season that a coaching change needed to happen.
In his five years as head coach of the Lions, Schwartz compiled a 29-51 record in the regular season and a 0-1 record in the playoffs. He took over the Lions in 2009 after they went 0-16, and he led them to a 2-14 record in his first season. Things got a bit better in 2010 with the Lions going 6-10, and Schwartz helped the Lions end their playoff drought in 2011 with a 10-6 record in the regular season. (The Lions lost in the wild-card round that season to the New Orleans Saints.) In 2012, the Lions hoped to build on that playoff appearance, but instead they took a massive step back by going 4-12. Then, in 2013, the Lions had their sights set on the playoffs again only to come up short at 7-9.
Despite how poorly the last two seasons went for the Lions, Schwartz does deserve credit for what he did in his first three years as head coach. He took over a team that finished with the worst record in NFL history and got them to the playoffs just a few seasons later. That was no easy task, nor was sustaining success once the Lions made the playoffs. Schwartz's downfall was his inability to replicate the success the Lions had in 2011 in the following two seasons, and that's why the Lions are now tasked with finding a new head coach.
UPDATE: The team is now confirming Schwartz's firing.