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.