Houston Texans fire Lovie Smith

Aug 19, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith looks on as players warm up for the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans fire Lovie Smith

The Houston Texans didn’t wait for “Black Monday,” terminating Smith Sunday evening after one season as head coach.

According to a report by Gallery Sports’ own John McClain, The Houston Texans have relieved head coach Lovie Smith of his duties Sunday evening following the team’s 32-31 win over the Colts to close out the season.

Smith spoke after the game stating he expected to be back next season, but that will not be the case.

The Texans were 3-13-1 in Smith’s only season as head coach, often suffering late collapses and making critical errors in key moments. A longtime defensive coach, his defense was marred by poor tackling, leading the league in missed tackles. The Texans also posted the league’s worst run defense, allowing an astounding 170.2 yards per game.

Houston finished 30th in total defense, allowing 379.5 yards per game. Offensively, their 17 points per game was tied for the second-lowest in the NFL. Their offense garnered 283.5 yards per contest, also second lowest in the league.

General manager Nick Caserio released the following statement regarding Lovie Smith’s termination.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Lovie Smith for everything he has contributed to our team over the last two seasons as a coach and a leader. I’m constantly evaluating our football operation and believe this is the best decision for us at this time. It is my responsibility to build a comprehensive and competitive program that can sustain success over a long period of time. We aren’t there right now, however, with the support of the McNair family and the resources available to us, I’m confident in the direction of our football program moving forward.”

Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair thanked Smith for his service to the team and said that he and Caserio would work together to find the team’s next head coach.

“Nick Caserio and I spoke with Lovie Smith tonight and informed him that we will be moving in a different direction as an organization. I appreciate Coach Smith and his entire family for their contributions over the last two seasons. We are grateful for his leadership and character, and we wish him the best moving forward. While we understand the results have not been what we had hoped for, we are committed to building a program that produces long-term, sustainable success. Our fans and city deserve a team that they can be proud of. I will work alongside Nick Caserio throughout this process, and I’m confident we will find the right leader for our football team.”

Smith was hired to replace David Culley. After Culley was fired following a 4-13 season, the Texans undertook a coaching search that appeared to be headed toward hiring former quarterback Josh McCown despite his complete lack of experience at any level of coaching.

Among the coaching candidates interviewed by the Texans was former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL, accusing it of racist hiring practices on Feb. 1, 2022. In his suit, the Texans’ dismissal of Culley was cited as an example. The lawsuit scuttled the team’s designs on hiring McCown.

On Feb. 6, the Texans interviewed Lovie Smith, their defensive coordinator, to be their head coach for the first time. Smith was named head coach the next day. Smith was essentially a compromise candidate to calm the waters with the lawsuit garnering heavy publicity. The Texans were officially added as defendants in the lawsuit on April 7.

The Texans have now fired their head coach after one season in back-to-back seasons, something that has only happened twice previously since the merger. The San Francisco 49ers fired Monte Clark in 1976, Ken Meyer in 1977, and Peter McCulley in 1978. The 49ers also fired Jim Tomsula in 2015 and Chip Kelly in 2016.

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