NEW YORK - Heads started rolling immediately after the final whistles blew on the 2012 NFL regular season.
The news that will impact fans of the Vikings and other teams in the NFC North most is the announcement that Chicago Bears have fired head coach Lovie Smith after the team missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
Smith was informed of the decision by general manager Phil Emery on Monday, a day after the Bears beat Detroit to finish 10-6 but still missed out on a playoff spot.
Smith led the Bears to a Super Bowl but also saw his team collapse in the second half of the past two seasons. Hired in 2004, Smith led the Bears to three division titles, two NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance in his nine seasons. His record is 81-63.
The Bears scheduled a news conference Tuesday to discuss the move.
Smith isn't the only one looking for a job. In a span of about 90 minutes before lunch Monday, coaches Andy Reid, Pat Shurmur, Romeo Crennel and Chan Gailey were let go by their teams after losing seasons. None of the moves were surprising, and more are expected.
Reid was among the NFL's longest tenured coaches, having spent 14 seasons at the Eagles helm.
The Jets decided to keep their coach, Rex Ryan, but fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
The Browns made it a clean sweep, dismissing GM Tom Heckert along with Shurmur.
Reid was the longest tenured of the group, let go after 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gailey was dumped after three seasons with the Bills, Shurmur after two in Cleveland and Crennel was coach of the Chiefs for one full season.
Jacksonville fired GM Gene Smith.
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