All the major faults visible to anyone who saw Lovie Smith's Chicago Bears teams over the past nine seasons eventually combined to bring him down.
Bears GM Phil Emery, at a lengthy press conference Tuesday, made it known that lack of offense and failing to make the playoffs five out of six years weighed heavily in favor of the coaching change announced Monday.
"As a professional sports team and as a historic charter member of the greatest sports league in this world, the NFL, our No. 1 goal always has to be to win championships," Emery said. "And to win championships, we must be in contention on a consistent basis, and to be in contention we have to be in the playoffs on a consistent basis. Five out of the last six years we have not been there; we have fallen short."
The Bears defense under Smith was No. 1 in turnovers produced and third-down conversion percentage.
"However, during the course of coach Smith’s career, we’ve had one offense that was ranked in the teens, I believe 15th (2006)," Emery said. "We haven’t had the balance between our defensive excellence. We’ve had special teams excellence. We have not had consistency on the offensive side of the ball. We have gone through a number of coordinators. We have searched for answers. The end result is we did not have enough consistency.
"That paired with not getting into the playoffs on a consistent basis, being able to meet our organizational goals to be in a consistent spot, to be in the hunt to win championships, I made the change moving forward."
Going forward, Emery will hope to strike quickly as he interviews potential replacements. Already, Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, and Atlanta special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong are candidates who will be interviewed.
There will be more. Emery said Tuesday that current Bears assistants are a possibility. One highly thought of coach on staff is special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
The Bears hope to make this a thorough, yet rapid process. Emery will conduct initial interviews, starting this week with McCoy, Armstrong and Sullivan. He said he'd narrow it to a handful of candidates, then have the candidates also talk with team president Ted Phillips and board chairman George McCaskey.
"At the end result, that final decision will be mine," Emery said.
The timetable will be influenced by candidates with teams in the playoffs, as always. The first three known candidates all have that issue.
"It’s important that we be very thorough to get the absolute right person," Emery said. "My druthers would be ideally that I could stand should-to-shoulder with this individual during the all-star games (to evaluate talent). The East-West is coming up (Jan. 19), the Senior Bowl is coming up (Jan. 26). All those things are important. We have to be thorough, though."
Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSBears.