Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



Yesterday was simply known as "Black Monday" for the San Francisco 49ers after a multitude of reports ranging from an early retirement to an arrest on suspected spousal battery.

After Jim Harbaugh's departure, many wondered if matters could get any worse and apparently they have. Despite the bleak off season that is just beginning, is it possible for the 49ers to reload their golden luster with the appropriate talent and game plans? If history is to repeat itself, the answer would unfortunately be an emphatic "NO," but all is not lost.

The last time the 49ers had a tumultuous off-season that is comparable to the current situation, San Francisco initiated their almost decade long descent into the NFL cellar until the Harbaugh hire. Prior to Steve Mariucci's firing after the 2002 season, the 49ers had just embarked on a historic 2+ decade run that took home 5 Super Bowl championships. They had a solid system that was implemented by Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh and much continuity amongst their staff and players. However, there is now a revolving door at 49er headquarters that many of us didn't notice during this recent 49er rebirth under the successful Harbaugh regime. Harbaugh, like Walsh, coached at Stanford and is a member of the legendary coach's tree.

Those who remember the days of Dennis Erickson and Tim Rattay at quarterback know true football fan suffering. After the 49ers fell from the upper echelon after 2002, San Francisco consistently suffered from a lack of talent and continuity amongst its schemes. This was no doubt a dark age for 49er football and is a period that many fans do not want to return to. However, unlike those 49ers who failed to adequately reload for the salary cap era, this current group still has quality talent and are not starting from scratch. Fans can take solace in the fact that there are athletes and coaches on this team that have tasted the recent success and that there is some continuity despite all the change.

A complete overhaul that culminated with a 2-14 record in the 2004 season is unlikely if new head coach Jim Tomsula can take command of whatever forces he still has left and provide the leadership that his athletes have grown accustomed to during his tenure as the team's defensive line coach and interim head coach after Mike Singletary's firing. Tomsula started his coaching career as a strength and conditioning coach and being a strength and conditioning coach myself, I know Tomsula has the fiery demeanor to lead this team during a period of such great strife. Those of us who specialize in strength and conditioning know there is a mental component that can supersede the physical aspects that occur on the field. The athletes who played for Tomsula already have an established level of neuromuscular programming associated with their coach and are adapted to play at a high level that was consistent during the Harbaugh era.

Tomsula's hiring wasn't an accident and may actually be a silver lining to this dark storm. He's a battle commander type that treats his players like men which is a stark contrast to Harbaugh's my way or the highway style that may be better suited for collegiate athletes who are still maturing into men. The best schemes in the world will not be executed properly if the athletes on the field are uncomfortable taking orders from an overly abrasive leader such as Harbaugh or if former offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan was brought back as head coach.

If the 49ers are to avoid another tragic collapse, they must ride the shoulders of their eclectic head coach whose journey to the NFL is worthy of a novel.