San Francisco 49ers head coach and former Bear great Mike Singletary has been fired last night as head coach after a disappointing loss to the St. Louis Rams. The game cost the 49ers a spot in the playoffs. Singletary took the loss, and presumably his firing, in a typical stand up fashion:
“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. 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.”
A couple points here. First this is a lesson for all fans that cry so passionately for the days of explosive former Bear head coach Mike Ditka. Don’t get me wrong. You can be a successful emotional head coach. But there has to be moor to it than that. Otherwise its just day after day of someone haranguing you. The indications in the media are that’s part of what happened here.
Second, this looks to me like a race to Jon Gruden. During an interview on the NFL Network before Saturday’s game, Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones strongly hinted that he was looking at Gruden. I’d be willing to bet that the 49ers are too and once it was clear that Singletary wasn’t going to survive, they fired him immediately rather than waiting a week. They want to talk to Gruden and, failing that, other big name people to run the organization. 49ers owner Jed York didn’t say that directly, of course. But I consider his statement about paying off the rest of Singletary’s contract as providing a strong hint:
“Money is no object. 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.”
I was thinking that this off season would be relatively quiet with a work stoppage looming, thinking that the owners would be hesitant to pay two coaching staffs not to work. If York’s statement can be taken at face value, that might not be the case. It could be an interesting offseason after all.