The Houston Texans fired head coach Lovie Smith on Sunday night after the team went 3-13-1 in his first season in charge.
“We are grateful [Smith’s] Chairman and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement, “We wish him the best for his leadership and character. While we know the outcome is not what we hoped for Yes, but we are committed to building a plan that produces long-term, sustainable success. Our fans and this city deserve a team that they can be proud of.”
The Texans have now fired their coach for a year in a row after firing David Cooley last January. Smith serves as defensive coordinator and associate head coach on Cali’s coaching staff in 2021 and was promoted to head coach on Feb. 17. 7.
“I have been evaluating our football operations and believe this is the best decision for us at this time,” general manager Nick Caserio said in a statement. “It is my responsibility to build a comprehensive and competitive program that can be successful over a long period of time. We are not there yet, but, with the support of the McNair family and the resources available to us, I am committed to our football Confident in the direction the project is headed.”
McNair said he will work with Caserio “to find the right leader for our football team.”
The Texans ended their season with a win, beating the Indianapolis Colts 32-31 earlier Sunday and have been solid in four of their past five games. With the Chicago Bears’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings, they earned the No. 1 spot. With the No. 2 pick, the Bears have the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“We understand what’s going on all season,” Smith said after the win over the Colts. “Am I looking forward to coming back? Yes, I’m looking forward to coming back.”
The Texans are now searching for their fourth head coach in four seasons. Former coach and general manager Bill O’Brien was fired after going 0-4 to start the 2020 season after six full seasons. Then the Texans hired Caserio as their new general manager in 2021, who hired Cali. Cali was fired after one season after going 4-13 in 2021.
The last team to have four different head coaches in back-to-back seasons was the San Francisco 49ers, who hired Jim Harbaugh in 2014, then Jim Tom Sula in 2015 and Chip Kelly in 2016. Hired Kyle Shanahan in 2017.
Culley and Smith are the only black coaches in franchise history and are now Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins), Robert Saleh (New York Jets ) and Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders) remain the only head coaches of color.
After the Texans broke a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter to tie the Colts 20-20 in overtime to open the game, Smith played for the tie in overtime to avoid the loss.
The Texans were competitive in the first half of the season, but fourth-quarter struggles remained a theme. The Texans have gone scoreless in four of their first six games in the fourth quarter.
The Texans are dead last in rushing yards allowed after finishing second to last in 2021, despite Smith coming from the defensive end. They also rank 30th in yards allowed and allow 24.7 points per game, 27th in the NFL. Offensively, they are second to last in points per game (16).