Lions fire coach Jim Schwartz


ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Simply put, Jim Schwartz did not win enough games in his five years as coach of the Detroit Lions -- particularly in the past two seasons -- to warrant keeping him for a sixth season.

That message was evident Monday afternoon, when Lions president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew spoke about the organization's decision to fire Schwartz.

"The simple fact is we have fallen short of the expectations of our ownership, and those expectations are simple," Lewand said. "They, very strongly, want to bring a consistently winning football team to the fans of the city of Detroit.

"We fell short of that, and the decision that was made today was a direct reflection of falling short of that goal. Quite simply, we didn't win enough football games."

Despite winning six of their first nine games this season, the Lions crumbled down the stretch, finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs.

"I feel awful for [Schwartz]," longtime center Dominic Raiola said. "I feel like we let him down."

Both Lewand and Mayhew felt the coaching performance wasn't commensurate with the talent level assembled on this year's roster.

"I think this will be one of the most, if not the single most, attractive head coaching opportunity in the National Football League for a lot of different reasons, and that starts with our ownership," Lewand said. "I think it also continues with a lot of the talented people we have in our organization, not just in the locker room, although there are many of those.

"We want, the expectation is to bring a consistently winning football team to the city of Detroit immediately."

Lewand indicated the Lions have already started the coaching search and have fielded calls about the position. Mayhew said that the players will not have input in the team's coaching search.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford said he would not mind having input, although he realizes it likely will not happen.

"Yeah, sure," Stafford said. "But I'm not sure that will happen. It's not something I am concerning myself with at this point."

After a 4-4 start in 2012, the Lions lost their last eight games of the season. This season, Detroit was in control of the NFC North before losing six of its last seven games to nose-dive out of the playoff picture and into a meaningless game by the end of the season.

The Lions also fired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and receivers coach Tim Lappano. The rest of the assistants, including defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, remain under contract for the time being.

Schwartz inherited a team that set an NFL record for futility in 2008 when it became the first in league history to go 0-16. Schwartz coached the Lions to the playoffs in 2011, but four of his five seasons -- including each of the past two years -- ended with losing records.

"[This] place is totally different than when he first came here," Raiola said. "I guess there are three guys left -- I don't know how many guys are still in the NFL from that 0-16 team. For the culture he created, I can't stress enough that this job that he took is one nobody wanted. Who wants that job? A complete rebuild, a complete overhaul -- nobody wants that job. But he took it, and he took it as far as he could take it."

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