John Fox strolled into Chicago three years ago with the promise to "understate" and "overproduce" as Bears head coach.
Well, he nailed the understatement part.
Fox, who is 14-33 (.298 winning percentage) heading into Sunday’s season finale in Minnesota, is unlikely to return for a fourth season. Whether the Bears win or lose Sunday, he would be leaving town with the second-worst winning percentage in Bears history. The only Bears coach who had a worse record was Abe Gibron, who went 11-30-1 for a .274 percentage.
The Bears haven't even reached .500 with Fox at the helm, as his teams usually have been practically finished before the calendar flipped to October. The Bears have been a combined 1-9 in September under Fox and 1-7 when Vegas installed them as favorites.
The most egregious defeat was Chicago’s 23-16 loss to the Packers this season. The Bears were coming off their bye week, and Green Bay was playing on a short week and had to start Brett Hundley at quarterback after Aaron Rodgers was put on injured reserve with a broken collarbone.
Yet the Bears came out flat, which was an indictment of their head coach, whose teams have been undisciplined and plagued by penalties over the years.
Fox also has made questionable in-game decisions.
Fox’s challenge of a Benny Cunningham 23-yard reception in that loss to Green Bay inadvertently awarded possession back to the Packers on a touchback after it was ruled that Cunningham lost possession of the ball and went into the end zone and out of bounds. The refs originally ruled that the Bears would get the ball at the Packers' 2-yard line, setting up first-and-goal while trailing 10-3.
Fox’s call to punt on fourth-and-1 on Chicago’s 45-yard line in Week 15 versus the Lions -- even though the Bears had nothing to lose with a 4-9 record -- was the final straw for a city fed up with the head coach’s conservative style of game management. Chicago scored 30-plus points in just three games under Fox. The only team to score 30-plus points fewer times over that span is the hapless Browns, who did it just once, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
But Fox’s missteps extended beyond football operations. You have to go back to the days of former Blackhawks coach Alpo Suhonen to find a Chicago head coach with a weaker connection to the fan base than Fox's.
Fox experienced success in previous stops in Carolina and Denver, becoming one of just six coaches to take two teams to the Super Bowl. But in Chicago, he accomplished nothing. And that's all that Bears fans cared about.
Now the Bears will be searching for their third head coach since firing Lovie Smith after the 2012 season, when the team finished 10-6.