Another day, another coaching head chopped off at the hands of the NFL guillotine.
The 49ers coaching staff had three Mikes on its staff, Mike Nolan, Mike Martz, and Mike Singletary, that is, until the 49ers lost to the Eagles.
Then there were two.
I’m not here to eulogize Mike Nolan. I was one of those fans that saw the glass half full for an excruciating four years. When the Yorks brought in the very attractive coach, with some 49ers coaching pedigree, I thought the light at the tunnel was drawing closer.
That old joke about, “If you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel it’s because the train is coming right at you,” yeah, I think that’s me.
When the York family suddenly and inexplicably handed Steve Mariucci the pink slip, I was stunned. The Mooch was a very likeable young coach. The fans loved him, even the media loved him. The players with one very notable exception, T.O. number 81, were happy campers and performing relatively well. The team was at least, competitive.
But then came the beginning of the end, seriously that is exactly what many knowledgeable NFL reporters were saying when the Yorks took control. I scoffed.
There was a movement to ged rid of the York ownership here in the SF Bay Area. Dump York became a battle cry from the Faithful who still yearned for the days of Eddie D and Joe Montana. This outcry led to some very heated confrontations at Candlestick Park between the Dump York group and stadium security.
In fact, some fans wearing Dump York t-shirts, who just happen to be season ticket holders, were not allowed in until they changed shirts.
I shit you not.
But I hung in there; surely the family could be given a little slack, I scolded myself.
Although I did feel jilted when they let the Mooch go, he had the dreamiest blue eyes I have ever looked into … but I am getting sidetracked.
So the next coach is Dennis Erickson. Barf. But hey, reason I, maybe he wasn’t really treated fairly in his coaching life before the Niners. Maybe, just maybe he held the key to the success of this very young, very minimally talented team.
But darn if he wasn’t as bad as advertised.
The water in the glass is down about half an inch.
Ok, maybe Mike Nolan is the guy. We have the first pick in the draft and we can only go up, right? Suffice it to say that I have developed a serious drinking habit.
But only on Sundays.
Mike Nolan gave me further hope when he brought along Mike Singletary as his assistant coach. Everybody knows Mike Singletary, the eyes, the intensity, Da Bears.
Well I love that he’s here, but I still don’t know exactly what he does. I think he is helping develop Patrick Wills, but is that all he does?
No matter, he’s got to be helpful.
Mike Nolan becomes quite the charmer. He is a natty dresser and he is very easy on the ladies eyes, trust me, I’ve seen him up close. He is a handsome dude.
The 49ers select Alex Smith as their quarterback of the future. Hey maybe we’re on a roll here!
Poor Alex, he had some pretty huge football shoes to fill following the likes of Joe Montana, Steve Young and even Jeff Garcia. But he was the new great quarterback hope 49ers fans were praying for, or was he?
Would he be another Tom Brady or a Ryan Leaf?
Roll those dice baby.
Water in the glass is holding steady.
Enter the new Mike, Mike the Mad Scientist Martz. Mike number three has the most experience of the three Mikes. He coached our division rivals, the Rams to a Super Bowl. He used to dial up the plays for them and kick our ass.
So Mad Mike comes in and reshapes the offense. Problem is Alex Smith is still having trouble with his shoulder and he is on his fourth offensive coordinator.
Martz brings in JT O’Sullivan, “who dat”, to run the offense.
Water is down another half inch.
It’s now 2008 and I am guardedly optimistic. I stay that way through three games and then the wheels come off.
The Saints slap us upside the head, the Pats stomp us down and the Eagles run past us in the fourth quarter.
The glass is dangerously close to being empty.
I think all 49ers fans will admit that the coaches have done a few good things. They drafted Frank Gore, Manny Lawson (jury is still out) and Patrick Willis, by far the best player on the team. But the lack of excellence at the quarterback position, on a team whose legend is built around great quarterbacks, has shaken the fan base’s confidence.
Alex Smith’s slow development is the reason behind Mike Nolan’s dismissal
Add to that the fact that his players and coaches just can’t seem to execute a full sixity minutes of mistake free football.
And so, the end of the three Mikes.
Mike Singletary is left with the unenviable task of getting his quarterback to stop making costly mistakes. Hoping the offensive line can block so that Gore can get free. And last but not least, Mike Singletary, who will need to prove to the loyalists among us, that his coaching will develop a defense that can stop other teams, every down, every week.
If Mike can do that, I think I would be willing to start filling my glass again, at least half way.
By Ivette Ricco