The San Francisco 49ers are out of the playoffs after last night's loss to the Rams, and Coach Mike Singletary is out of a job this morning. With a 5-10 record for the 49ers, it's no big surprise that Singletary would be fired. So what is a surprise? The timing.
The coach who waltzed into the bay area screaming "I want winners" has been something of a sore loser since he took over as head coach two years ago. From sideline antics that have included verbally whipping his starting quarterback in front of the entire world to dropping his pants in the locker room during a halftime speech, the 49ers have contrarily stuck by Singletary. They claimed method to their madness. Opting to fire him now -- during the holiday season -- flushes that claim right down the toilet.
The fact is, he can't screw the 49ers up anymore. The one remaining game is at home in Candlestick Park. If they can't beat the Cardinals there, it isn't Singletary's fault. It's the talented team who were once projected to win the NFC West, who have only shown up to half their games this season.
Management left them to hang out there with a crazy screaming coach all season, ostensibly banking on the notion that you don't change horses mid-stream. To change now shows the management can't make up its own mind. If he was bad for the team, he should have been gone. To can him now smacks of scapegoating.
The NFL doesn't need another example to keep coaches on their toes. They have Wade Phillips' recent removal from the Dallas staff bouncing around the back of their heads. What they need is a management that can make good front office decisions.
Singletary has made myriad mistakes. But in his final statement to the media, he acted like an adult:
“One of the greatest experiences of my life was having the opportunity to coach the San Francisco 49ers. What made it so special were the players. They were some of the most outstanding men I have ever been around in my life. The coaches were truly professionals. I wish the 49ers nothing but the best. I am thankful to the York family for having given me the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. I am indebted to them for that. I am also thankful for the Faithful fans, I am just sorry I couldn’t give them more.”
Too bad the same can't be said for the 49ers' management. Should they have waited out the one more game in the season before giving Singletary the boot?
Image via SD Dirk/Flickr