Article Title: Eight Year Itch.
It was a Christmas gift I didn’t want as any of you did. A 25-17 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Rams that officially ended our dreams of being an outside contender with a losing record to make this years playoffs. Mike Singletary led his rag-time team into the Edward Jones Dome, realizing that this could and ultimately would be his last hurrah as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Witnessing the dreaded penalties eight of them in all for 87 total yards as an undisciplined set of misfits and Singletary’s nationally televised tirade with then starting quarterback Troy Smith on the sidelines following his interception set the stage for what this game was all about.
Everything unraveled as if it was destined to be. Mike Singletary shuffled the deck yet again on his quarterbacks and inserted Alex Smith once again because of his illegitimate rationalization that it would be a turning of the tide so-to-speak. It turned still into a disaster as the offense remained stagnant with Mike Johnson’s inconsistent and ultra-conservative play calling philosophy in conjunction with Mike Singletary’s threatening posture on the sidelines that compelled quarterback Troy Smith to explode because he was not excused for making an on-field mistake.
Sports analysts and columnists now are saying that San Francisco 49er President and CEO Jed York was considering firing Mike Singletary for some time now as the season was jumping up and down with him at the helm, and that only a virtual playoff game could have saved him and maybe not even that considering the losing record he had acquired as its legitimate head coach. At (5-9), we were considered an abomination to the NFL in even being considered as an outside contender for the playoffs because of the hideous record we had manufactured.
Singletary’s firing was necessary and it was the right thing to do as Jed York must hold not only his coach accountable and others but ultimately himself and his dad and mom as well. All of us as faithful die-hards have once again been forced to accept the inevitable truth of utter disappointment eight years running now as the York family has failed miserably to get anything right in providing continuity, consistency and a championship of any kind. Jed now knows that everything his uncle Eddie DeBartolo Jr. was he is not at this time and he is more inclined then ever now to seek his professional advice as to what to do with the direction of this team and its immediate future.
Singletary was and still is a great man. He is a great motivational speaker and a great coach on the sideline as a positional coach not a head coach. His inexperience and lack of knowledge understanding the quarterback position and being able to formulate an accurate evaluation of that is a primary reason for his utter self-destruction. There were many other reasons as well with his sideline meltdowns, press conference excuses, inability to answer pin-pointed questions from sports columnists and utter lack of his personal ability to make the players play as a disciplined unit rather than the band of misfits they were on any given Sunday with multiple penalties and there personal inability to move the chains on third downs.
San Francisco 49er President and CEO Jed York has indicated finally that this franchise needs and will have a legitimate general manager first and then a head coach second that the general manager will be in charge of hiring first thing. After the abrupt departure of then General Manager Scot McCloughan back in March before our NFL Draft, Jed decided that Trent Baalke the man that was right under Scot could assume his position in a limited fashion by labeling him the Vice President of Personnel. Now the search for a new general manager seems to be a sudden new priority or should I say a new angle at doing some positive public relations for the ownership of this team.
Obviously looking back in hindsight we should’ve started the interview process then back then for a new general manager, had we brought in someone with unique knowledge of the game especially in regards to building and evaluating the quarterback position and or had a specialty in working as an offensive specialist that person would’ve had some strong influence in keeping Singletary on the straight and narrow sooner rather than later. Now the search is on for someone that has those specialties but the jury of die-hards and even some NFL Network employees see Trent Baalke as a shoe-in for the job despite the window-dressing ceremonies we are seeing Jed do in his candidate searches and interviews to get this done right.
Finding the right general manager will be key to finding the right head coach to come in and lead this team and revitalize the pathetic offense we’ve had and build a quarterback that is fully capable of being this franchises star studded leader for many years to come. We need a general manager that is actively involved daily with the head coach and is a person that helps out by giving the head coach advice and or suggestions on what they see from an observational standpoint.
Jim Tomsula the new interim head coach is someone I think we all can appreciate because of his incredible work ethic as described by Jed York and the fact he has exceptional experience at coaching from the long-lost NFL Europe to his tenure as a coach with the San Francisco 49ers. I am hopeful he’ll continue to be a part of the coaching staff here for many more years to come. I think he is one of the exceptions on this staff that has more then gone the extra mile in delivering defining achievement on the field. His work with the defensive line has been extraordinary in my opinion. His task to win against the Arizona Cardinals is one of the greatest challenges of his professional career; let’s hope he’ll be very successful in this task.
It’s funny reminiscing about what the York family has succeeded at since taking ownership of this franchise. The one head coach and quarterback that were working well for us were ejected and laid off; one due to wanting a bit more say in personnel matters affecting one’s ego, and the other a matter of money and contract. Steve Mariucci was the head coach back then in our last official playoff game back in 2002. Jeff Garcia was the other as a quarterback that we choose to go on without and experimented with a smorgasbord of quarterbacks starting with the likes of a Tim Rattay who is no where to be found in the NFL today. Still even further we dealt with the incompetence of a general manager known as Terry Donahue with a new degree in ruining this franchise.
We can’t change what has happened and we cannot dwell I guess on past mistakes and fumbling away the many years we could’ve been building a future Super Bowl team of the ages. Since then we are a Super Bowl behind the Pittsburgh Steelers as they are the only legendary franchise to achieve six total Vince Lombardi trophies. Young President and CEO Jed York has to get this right and he has to have in depth discussions and deliberations with some high profile personnel play-makers. His uncle in former owner Eddie DeBartolo is a great choice to start with and then on to the more successful franchises in this league starting with the New England Patriots.
Money cannot be a barrier to us getting a high-profile general manager and a new head coach that is hired with influence by that high-profiled general manager. There has to be consensus on everyone’s part that the quarterback position must be a top priority in this up and coming NFL Draft and we must re-evaluate every coaching position on this staff. There is a lot of great ability and talent on this roster that can be used to get us where we need to be. We just need the right set of people as leaders to help get us there and hopefully in a short amount of time at best. Although a meaningless game in its own right, I am looking forward to our last game and praying for a series of positive events that will help re-shape our franchise for years to come. Let’s all pray for our San Francisco 49ers and best wishes for a new year in 2011.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.