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Monday, December 27, 2010

Mike Singletary Is Fired -- And We Should Have Seen It Coming

Posted By on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 11:59 AM

click to enlarge Tough luck, Sing
  • Tough luck, Sing

Newly ex-San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary's career in management may end up being best remembered for his iconic "I want winners" tirade -- and the inevitable Coors Light commercials it will spawn.

Many otherwise sane and sensible observers predicted big things from the 49ers this year. Sadly, it was yet another instance of wishful thinking overriding general thinking; it's amazing what we can will ourselves to believe in. Because, in retrospect, the signs were all there that things would end badly for Singletary and his team.

The first notion that something was deeply rotten in Candlestick actually came last year. The many slings and arrows fans have withstood since that time may have obscured the memory, but it was a truly alarming development that the Niners' search for an offensive coordinator to succeed Mike Martz became a noxious, marathon affair.

Candidates concocted every sort of cock and bull excuse to turn down working here, and the team eventually settled on Jimmy Raye -- perhaps the sixth or seventh choice for the job. Raye, of course, was a resounding failure. But the fact that the job fell to him in the first place was the most damning aspect of it all. Quite simply, no one else appeared to want to work for such a disorganized franchise (And this may come up again in the case of Singletary's potential successors). In Scott Linehan's case, he took the offensive coordinator job in Detroit rather than the same position here. Meditate on that.



The dysfunctional nature of the 49ers franchise was laid bare in an opening-week debacle in Seattle -- and an article by Yahoo Sports' Jason Cole exposed deep-seated problems between the team's players and coaching staff, specifically Raye and Singletary. In brief, the article revealed that then-quarterback coach Mike Johnson couldn't properly decipher the plays Ray was calling in from the booth -- and Singletary "isn't an X's and O's guy" and wouldn't know one play call from another.

Not reassuring. Also not reassuring were Singletary's increasingly bizarre public outbursts. Minus a strategic approach to coaching, sermonizing appeared to be Singletary's strong point. And, as the losses mounted, no amount of speechifying was going to right the ship.

Finally, it warrants mentioning that Singletary was awarded the head-coaching job based on a victory over a woeful St. Louis team in which his squad played putrid ball and won on a last-second hail mary that was not caught by its intended receiver.

As we wrote at the time:

So, again, when we either cheer or curse the day the 49ers handed the reins to Singletary, let us not forget that it all hinged on a skin-of-his-teeth win over an abysmal opponent, brought about via a fluke bomb tossed into triple coverage and caught by the wrong man.

Too bad things had to end this way. It's a dad-gum shame.


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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more

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