Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said too many playoff misses and the inability to develop a productive offense led to coach Lovie Smith's firing.
The Bears let Smith go Monday even though they won 10 games.
Missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years and the inability to fix the offense were simply too much to overlook, so they cut ties with their coach after a nine-year run that included a Super Bowl appearance.
Emery said Tuesday he'll be interviewing potential replacements over the next two weeks and would like to have one in place by the college All-Star games later this month.
Emery sees Jay Cutler as a "franchise quarterback," although the new coach will determine if he's the long-term solution. He was noncommittal about Brian Urlacher's future.