Dear David:

As one of your humble employees, I'd first like to wish you a merry Christmas and thank you for another great year here at 49erswebzone. Maybe I don't tell you enough, but this is truly a wonderful job. I can work from home, my hours are flexible, and the dress-code...well, you wouldn't believe what I'm wearing right now!

(Okay, maybe the salary isn't so great. But that'll be between you and my agent.)

Anyway, I just got your latest memo, the one entitled "Letting Go of Jim Harbaugh so Quickly Is a Big Mistake." And since this was my boss speaking, you can bet that I gave it my faithful attention. (I don't mean to suggest that I'm more faithful than some of your other underlings, but just so you know, I think I saw Jack Hammer stealing post-its from the supply closet.)

In your memo, you make perhaps the definitive case for why, indeed, Harbaugh should stay as the Niners' head coach. Now please understand, I would never doubt your management skills; after all, I'll just confess, I'm the Secret Santa who got you that "World's Best Webmaster" mug.

But if you'll allow me, point by point, I'd like to respectfully disagree.

Let's start with some of your background assertions. Your central thesis is that "letting [Harbaugh] go after one disappointing season would be a mistake." But you're making a couple of assumptions there. One is that the Niners would be "letting him go" (in other words, firing him), instead of merely letting him leave. And the other is that their reason for "letting him go" would be their disappointment over this season, instead of something totally else.

With all due respect, Boss, neither of those assumptions is valid.

Don't forget: Harbaugh was nearly traded after last season, long before this one hit the skids. And when the Niners and Harbaugh discussed an extension, Harbaugh wasn't any more agreeable than the Niners were. So though it might seem like Harbaugh will be "fired" for this season's train-wreck, really the train-wreck is just a coincidence. As soon as those offseason talks broke down, the die was cast; whether the Niners went 2-and-14 or 14-and-2, Harbaugh was gone. Mutually.

It's simple, really. Harbaugh and Trent Baalke are done with each other. They were never close, and reportedly, earlier this month, their trust in each other was broken for good. Someone's gotta go, and since Baalke's the boss, Harbaugh will go. But this isn't merely Baalke's decision; just this once, Harbaugh agrees.

So with all due respect to the fans you mention, who are urging Jed York to "keep Harbaugh," I don't think they really know what they're asking. If Baalke is here, Harbaugh doesn't want to be kept. To keep Harbaugh, York would have to fire Baalke and make Harbaugh the coach and GM. Though I'm sure that plenty of fans would sign up for that, you don't go that far in your memo, and wisely so, if you ask me.

What you say, instead, is that Baalke should let Harbaugh serve out his contract, but that Harbaugh should be "forced to make some offensive staff changes." By this, of course, you mean that Harbaugh should be forced to fire Greg Roman, who should've been fired months ago. But no self-respecting head coach—and certainly no head coach like Harbaugh, who can basically have any job that he wants—would ever give up control of his staff. So when you admit that Baalke should keep Harbaugh only if Harbaugh will fire Roman—which Harbaugh clearly will never do—you're essentially admitting that Harbaugh actually shouldn't be kept.

But just for fun, let's assume that Harbaugh would stay with Baalke, that Harbaugh would fire Roman to do it, and that Baalke (or York) is stubbornly determined to fire him anyway. You offer a list of reasons why firing him would be a mistake. Allow me to briefly respond to each.

Reason One: 2003 through 2010

Those indeed were miserable years, and I'll always be grateful to Harbaugh for ending them. In 2011, especially given the offseason lockout, he did the greatest coaching job since Bill Walsh's 30 years before (and I still haven't forgiven a certain punt-returner for singlehandedly ruining it). But why do you assume that the choice here is between keeping Harbaugh and reverting to the misery that preceded him? Isn't there a third alternative? Sure, there's a chance that Baalke would replace Harbaugh with someone worse, but there's also a chance—a good one, I think—that he would replace him with someone better. Which leads us to....

Reason Two: Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary

Those indeed were miserable coaches, but take a look at who did the hiring. Terry Donahue, John York, and Jed York, respectively. Unqualified, each and every one. I don't think their failures prove "how extremely difficult it is to find a good NFL head coach." All they prove, at least to me, is how difficult it was for them.

Baalke was smart enough to hire Harbaugh, so there's no way he'd be dumb enough to hire another coach as bad as Erickson, Nolan, or Singletary. Your response, though, is that there isn't likely to be out there another coach as good as Harbaugh. I think you might be overrating Harbaugh a tad—more on that later—but I also think that you're underrating the current pool of potential replacements. I'll never understand the Niners' fascination with Jim Tomsula, but what about the modern masters of the actual West Coast Offense? The Ravens' Gary Kubiak, the Packers' Tom Clements, the Colts' Pep Hamilton? I tend to prefer new blood to old, but Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, and Jon Gruden have reportedly expressed interest, each one with roots in Niners glory. And those are just off the top of my head. I think that any of these guys would do at least as good a job as Harbaugh, and a much better job offensively. Harbaugh promised to bring the West Coast Offense home; these guys, though, would actually deliver.

Reason Three: A season full of media-created distractions

Look, Boss, I know the media are a bunch of sleaze-merchants. And sometimes, sure, they make stuff up. But sometimes they just report what they hear, from their various "sources" around the league. And when they do that, I don't think we should be shooting the messenger.

No question, Deion Sanders and Trent Dilfer might've just been speculating when they "reported" strain in the locker room. But since Harbaugh seems to wear out his welcome at every stop, weren't their musings plausible? And once the team started throwing games away, didn't the players sort of confirm those musings, accusing the coaches of lacking a "killer instinct" and running "dumb schemes"? It's easy to dismiss lightweights like Sanders and Dilfer, but clearly this locker room wasn't a lovefest.

As for the rumored trade to the Browns, Mike Florio wrote that he'd learned from a "source" that the Niners agreed to accept two third-round picks, but that Harbaugh ended up killing the deal. And Chris Mortensen's "sources" confirmed the "substance" of Florio's story. You assert, though, that Florio "exaggerated" the story, "in order to create a sense of shock and alarm." But how do you know, David? Because the Niners denied it? As I see it, only the Niners had a reason to lie, to preserve some trace of organizational peace. But in any event, the media didn't just make all this up. All the tea-leaves were already there.

But here's a question. Even if you're right—even if this year indeed was ruined by "media-created distractions"—why would the media create fewer distractions next year, with Harbaugh now a lame-duck coach? If you ask me, the scene would be an absolute zoo.

Reason Four: LB Chris Borland, LB Patrick Willis, LB NaVorro Bowman, NT Glenn Dorsey, NT Ian Williams, DB Jimmie Ward, C Daniel Kilgore, TE Vance McDonald, RB Kendall Hunter, TE Derek Carrier, CB Chris Cook, WR Kassim Osgood, TE Garrett Celek, WR Chuck Jacobs, CB Kenneth Acker, and G Fouimalo Fonoti

Those indeed are a slew of guys on injured reserve. And even if we were playoff-bound, those injuries would make things tough. But as you acknowledge, this team's failure has been on offense, and only one of those guys, Kilgore at center, was an offensive starter. So when it comes to this team's failure, those injuries were virtually irrelevant. If we want to explain it, we'll have to look elsewhere. Which brings us to....

Reason Five: Harbaugh's resume

No question, you can't argue with his winning percentage; it's the fourth-best in NFL history. But this franchise is about winning titles, not winning games. And I just don't see a championship coach. First there's his weird offensive philosophy. Despite the fact that passing wins, he started out with a run-first offense. Sure, I get it, his quarterback was Alex Smith. But even this year, when his weapons induced him to finally switch to a pass-first offense, he based it on low-percentage passes, always deep, or at least intermediate. Especially when your line is struggling, that's no way to keep drives alive.

I'll quickly admit that Colin Kaepernick's been awful this year, but he's done okay when the plays have called for comfortable passes—shorter, quicker, and especially on the move. If he were given a QB-friendly scheme—like, say, the WCO—Kaepernick could learn the reads and make the throws, and of course he'd add his trademark big plays. But stunningly, despite being a former QB himself, Harbaugh refuses to give him one.

Offensive philosophy, though, is just the tip of the trash-heap. A well-coached team shouldn't struggle with the basic tasks of calling the plays and getting set at the line; yet our play-clock issues still persist, week after week, year after year. A well-coached team should practice its red-zone execution so thoroughly that the players can run the plays in their sleep; yet our red-zone issues still persist, week after week, year after year. And a well-coached team should make the necessary halftime adjustments; yet our second-half issues still persist, week after week, year after year.

So yeah, Harbaugh's teams win a lot of games. But is it because of his coaching, or in spite of his coaching?

While proudly serving on your staff, I've written a couple of articles I wish I could take back. One, in particular, is the article I wrote after we lost that Super Bowl. Still enraptured by Harbaugh's spell, I said he was still the best coach in the league. What I refused to see was that the Super Bowl was his time to prove it. And in the biggest game of any of their lives, Harbaugh's team simply wasn't prepared. They lined up wrong on the very first play, they were out of sorts on both O and D, and despite their impressively furious comeback, that sequence at the end was a nightmarish mess.

Harbaugh couldn't handle his championship moment. By its very definition, then, Harbaugh isn't a championship coach.

Reason Six: The fans have a voice

Lastly, David, you argue that Jed York should "worry about the backlash that will ensue when Harbaugh is let go." As you observe, York does profess to value the fans' opinions, and wisely so, since, after all, the fans are his customers. But as I've tried to demonstrate here, perhaps we fans should stifle that backlash. Again, York isn't letting Harbaugh go any more than Harbaugh wants to leave. And even if that weren't the case, I'd like to think that what we want most is another shiny silver trophy. Harbaugh's had his shot at one (or two, or maybe even three). Let's give someone else a turn.

Trust me, I get it. The fans are scared. We've got it pretty good right now, and when you've got it good, change can be scary. But let's not allow our fear of the worse to prevent us from always striving for better. We've got it pretty good right now, but everyone knows that we can do better.

In 2015, let's do better.

I'll still be employed here to see it, right?