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He deserved it because of his arrogance. I'm talking about Mike Singletary summarily getting fired after the "almost-playoff-eligible" 49ers got run out of St. Louis by a crummy Rams squad. I'm talking about Singletary getting fired with one game to go. I'm talking about the 49ers organization not even allowing him the courtesy of finishing out the season. He did not deserve that courtesy.

It is fitting Singletary got relieved of his duties — and aren't you relieved — because he had the nerve to reject everything that made San Francisco football San Francisco football. He replaced what is familiar and traditional and valuable to us, what we revere and respect, with some Neanderthal version of football that has not worked for 20 years.

He was an interloper from the cold grim Midwest with its simple version of football and he never understood the creativity or sheer joy of San Francisco football bequeathed to us by giants, Bill Walsh and Joe Montana and Steve Young and Jerry Rice and others. In his arrogance and narrow-mindedness and stubbornness and shortsightedness and pride, Singletary repudiated all that.

He had tremendous audacity and it is always sad to see a man fall on his audacity. I take that back. It is wonderful. It is wonderful to see a man get his comeuppance.

Most of us live small, dedicated lives. We guide ourselves by values of humility and modesty, and Singletary burst upon the scene with a voice too loud and unsupportable bragging. He had no humility, not for a moment. He was going to be an all-time great coach. He wanted winners. He shouted down people who disagreed with him. As a coach he was not a winner. He was a loser if you go by the record, and he got the treatment loser coaches get. He got fired.

He never knew how to prepare — preparing is so mundane and his mind was aligned with the stars. His team was unprepared to play the Rams, unprepared to nurture their slim, undeserved playoff chances. Just unprepared.

Singletary wandered back and forth between Alex Smith and Troy Smith as his quarterbacks, did it in the Rams game — a parody of his general indecisiveness. He was an indecisive coach making decisions based on no verifiable criteria.

He never learned how to manage a game. He never learned how to work the clock. He yelled when he should have taught. When he screamed at Troy Smith on national TV on Sunday it was an embarrassment to him and Smith and the entire 49ers franchise. And he had to go.

He always was at the mercy of his offensive and defensive coordinators. No coach should put himself in that vulnerable position. He depended on offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, who was not state of the art. You would call Raye a hack. And then Singletary fired Raye and latched onto someone else. He needed other people to save him from his ignorance of offense, this bumbler who inherited the mantel of Walsh. He depended on Greg Manusky to run the defense and Manusky never could put together a secondary to actually stop a passing game.

Singletary was a coach who believed he was an expert of the big picture. He told me that in a moment that froze my blood. "Big picture" was the lie he told himself. Forget the big picture. Let Picasso paint a big picture. A coach needs to master a million little pictures. Singletary was too arrogant to do that hard, painstaking work. Or too vague.

He is a man who thought he could devour the world with the force of his personality and his voice and his rhetoric, almost entirely hollow. The world devoured him, and that's what he deserved.

So, sure, 49ers president Jed York was right to fire Singletary, rudely to yank him out of the picture right here and now. York could not wait. He needed to send a message to the team and the fan base. This incompetence has to end right now. It has gone on long enough and if the Niners are to matter and if they are to have pride, York had to serve immediate notice what went on this year was unacceptable. If York did not do this, no one ever could believe or respect or trust him again.

York is more culpable than Singletary. Singletary took a job York foolishly offered to him, a job York offered without interviewing any other candidate. York did a terrible disservice to the 49ers franchise and brand, set the team back years. York looked on passively while Singletary destroyed the team, while Singletary blustered and alienated the fans and foolishly alienated the media. York stood there, an onlooker on a disaster he created.

Unlike Singletary, York gets a second chance because his daddy and mommy own the team and they love him and they'll let him play with his 49er toy, at least for a while.

We are serving notice on York just like he served notice on Singletary. You have done a bad job, Jed. You have squandered goodwill — you who covet a new stadium — and you have besmirched the 49er name. You are arrogant and your bad decisions could fill a book. You need to learn wisdom and maturity and humility. It still is possible.

You had the gall not to appoint a general manager, as if you, a novice, could make a reckless decision like that. You say you will hire a GM. Good. This man better be good and experienced and connected. Let him hire the new coach. Let him make sure this coach has expertise on at least one side of the ball. Let him make sure this coach is not an egomaniac of Napoleonic proportions.

Jed, stay out of the head coach interviews. You do not have the knowledge to lend good counsel. Let the GM and his minions — hopefully he'll have minions — interview the candidates and inform you of his first choice. Then you can get involved, and only then. Otherwise stay away as your uncle stayed away from Walsh. Wisdom is knowing when to vanish and when to shut up. That is the big picture as far as you are concerned.

Jed, you did the right thing firing Singletary. You need to do hundreds of right things from now on. Can you?

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@