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The Volatility is Finally Over (UPDATE: Sing fired)

Dec 26, 2010 at 8:46 PM

It was an interesting interaction to watch: Troy Smith was sitting on the bench with his QB coach on his left, and Ted Ginn standing off to his right. Head Coach Mike Singletary was standing in front of the quarterback and informed him that he would be benched in favor of the other Smith. Troy Smith then went off on a tirade, gesticulating wildly, seemingly telling he head coach to shove it. Ginn, the started to run interference, literally. The former Buckeye wide receiver started rubbing a towel in T. Smith's face only to get swatted away by the agitated QB. Sing finally walked away and T. Smith remained the starter for another two series.

I was the third time 49er fans have seen this painful exhibition. Sing, challenging his starting quarterback by threatening a benching and expecting his starting quarterback to respond with some fire. It happened with Shaun Hill, Alex Smith and now Troy Smith.

The scene, and the fact that it happened three times, placed the fundamental fractures of Singletary's head coaching tenure in plain view. In a league dominated by quarterbacks, (Sam Bradford made that painfully obvious today) Sing has no clue how to handle the leagues marque position. It was the same problem his mentor, Mike Nolan, suffered from.

The larger issue, though, is the volatility exhibited by the team's supposed leader. He vacillates between starting quarterbacks. He is never sure of anything unless he "looks at the film." He gets into screaming matches with his players. He unequivocally supports his flailing offensive coordinator only to fire him the next day. He enters the press room with red, puffy eyes from crying over a loss and simultaneously says he needs to keep his emotions in check.

The 49ers could never find their footing in such a volatile environment. And now, thankfully, the volatile season is effectively over.
9:35 pm: UPDATE: Apprently David White, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, is reporting on his twitter page that Mike Singletary was just told he was fired. (!/bydavidwhite/status/19252094124957698)

He followed it up with some other tweets and apparently the 49ers have made it official with a statement.

Said Singletary: ""I am ... thankful for the Faithful fans, I am just sorry I couldn't give them more."

White is also reporting that Defensive Line coach Jim Tomsula will be the interim head coach. Tomsula has been a head coach before in NFL Europe.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Team York
    It's good to hear the Niners have finally fired Sing. It's a good first step for the organization and its good for Sing. This job must have been heartbreaking for him. He had a vision for this team but no idea how to implement it. Without ever being a defensive or offensive coordinator he had no idea how ill prepared he was for this job. Faith is Ignorance. And Ignorance is Bliss. Sing still has Jesus, Thank God the Niners still have Hope.
    Dec 28, 2010 at 11:44 AM
  • rjberryx
    Although 2010 was a bust for our team, we have before us an incredible opportunity to design and install a solid foundation of success for our once proud franchise. I believe Jed York has realized his past mistakes and can conduct an objective search for the next GM who in turn, will select a top HC. I ask other fans like myself for their patience - as long as we see things going in the right direction - and give things a chance. This may still take 2 or 3 years - but could last two or three decades. Let's see who we can get for GM, HC and QB. Lets build our stadium and lets return to glory.
    Dec 28, 2010 at 11:32 AM
  • rogercraig
    Was Sing asked to resign? If so, and had he resigned would it had voided his contract and saved the 49ers 5 million?
    Dec 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM
    Response: Yes, had Sing resigned it would have saved the 49ers 5 Mil. Would you turn down a 5 Mil payment from an employer who just fired you? I sure as hell wouldn't.
  • Gerry Cable
    I'm saying that Mike Singletary wasa good coach or should have been kept. I would like to mention a few points: 1) - He was a new coach and was learning 2) - The offense had rookies on the offensive line who were learning 3) - He did not have a decent quarterback 4) - The team played hard the whole time for him. Can't say that about a lot of losing teams. 5) - They lost 4 games by 3 points or less, another by a touchdown. Could have been a lot different picture with a few tweaks. 6) - Some mistakes in games were stupid, some were trying too hard, some were bad luck, some were bad calls by the refs. In summery, it was not a season where the breaks seemed to go their way. That happens in football and in a game of inches, can determine who win the superbowl, and who doesn't even get to the playoffs.
    Dec 28, 2010 at 5:15 AM
    Response: Oh my good lord. Consistently good teams aren't made through "good luck."
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Thank God the torture is over. I feel so relieved. Let's hope that the Dorks don't make the mistake in hiring a GM from within with no experience. Is there any chance of getting Holgrum form Cleveland I know he is under contract. Who are the other GM potentilas out there? I just hope we get back to our West Coast roots
    Dec 27, 2010 at 7:35 AM
  • rjberryx
    Earlier, I was a Sing supporter but this is something that needed to happen. As a fan, my information is limited and as much as I wanted Sing to succeed, the team seemed to be going in the wrong direction the last few games. Sings failings, in my opinion: 1.) No QB, 2.) No OC, 3.) Tempermental (some say volatile) management style, 4.) No HC experience, 5.) No GM, 6.) Strategic game planing questionable or inflexible at times, 7.) and possible unresolved anger issues. I am not a York hater or one to say Jed will not succeed. But here are a few of questions I have: 1.) what business/performance model do the 49ers need to copy to get to the Super Bowl? 2.) Which NFL teams are great year after year and how are their organization's constructed and staffs selected to reach that level of performance? 3.) Will Jed have the maturity and self-control to conduct an objective search for a new GM, hire him then LET him do his job? And finally, will Denise DeBartalo fund yet another round of team staffing changes and throw her full weight behind Jed ( or if not, sell the team)? I am excited for the playmakers our team has right now but I believe we are still 2-3 years away from a top team.
    Dec 27, 2010 at 7:25 AM
    Response: You raise a lot of really good points. It looks like the 49ers are going after an Atlanta-like strong GM and HC model. This is a departure from the Nolan-style powerful head coach model. We shall see if this go round it works.

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