Showing his inexperience and how emotions can rule his performance, San Francisco 49ers president Jed York fired coach Mike Singletary late Sunday night.
It’s not that the move was not deserved, but what’s the point in firing the man before the final game of the season when York is the same guy who decided to ride it out with Singletary following a disastrous 0-5 start? Canning Singletary now doesn’t make the 49ers better for 2010 and it certainly doesn’t give the franchise a jump on 2011 because everyone knew what was coming.
But York couldn’t keep his emotions bottled up in St. Louis after a 25-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams that eliminated his team from postseason contention. He said he didn’t know if Singletary would continue as the coach, and when the team returned to California, he made his move. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will be introduced as the interim coach today at a press conference with York. It’s York that needs to be doing most of the explaining, and no one cares about the team’s season finale Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
"Money is no object,'' York said in St. Louis. "I mean, our object is to win the Super Bowl, year in and year out be there and compete for Super Bowls. We're going to make sure we get this right.''
Singletary, who famously declared he wanted winners, was the wrong choice from the beginning when he replaced Mike Nolan on an interim basis in 2008. He was ill-prepared to be a head coach and his team showed that repeatedly earlier this season when the 49ers didn’t show up for blowout losses. Singletary wasn’t hired for his X’s and O’s acumen, and when he couldn’t motivate his players, it was evident he was no match for the job. The 49ers were widely picked as the team to beat in the NFC West before the season.
"You know what, I'll put it this way: a personal failure. I'm the head coach of this team and obviously wanted us to do better, felt that we could do better,'' Singletary said after the loss in St. Louis. "There are some obvious questions that I hoped would be answered as the season went on, and obviously were not answered. When that happens, you end up out of the playoffs.
"I take full responsibility for every unanswered question.''
As it is, his reign will most be remembered for the stunt he pulled at halftime of a 34-13 loss to the Seahawks in his first game after taking over for Nolan. In a halftime speech, he dropped his pants in the locker room and bent over to show his players where the Seahawks were giving it to him. His pants remained at his ankles for the remainder of his speech.
The former Hall of Fame linebacker has always succeeded as a professional speaker. He didn’t make it running a football team, though. The bigger issue now, though, is what steps York is going to take to help turn around the franchise. The first step will be to hire a general manager.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune
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