I was glad when then defensive coordinator Mike Singletary was promoted to the position of head coach of the San Francisco 49ers three-plus seasons ago.
I was always a fan of Singletary's hard and cerebral play when he was a linebacker with the Chicago Bears, and the bay area has not had any kind of seriously competitive football team in what seems like a long time.
Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker, had been the Ravens Defensive Coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2003, and when Ravens Head Coach Dick Nolan defected from Baltimore to San Francisco in 2004, Singletary followed suit.
Nolan had a couple of years of mediocre play at Three-Com Park, and in October of 2008, Nolan was fired and Singletary was made the head coach. Singletary let his agenda be known right way, suspending Tight End Vernon Davis, the team's highly paid, under-producing quasi star for his apathetic play, suggesting he would rather play with ten unknown guys who wanted to play than 11 indifferent stars.
I realize that those of us who live in California are sometimes regarded as a little too laid back. Diane told me the other day, that when one of her friends discovered Di was moving to El Cerrito this summer, she said "Going to the land of fruit and nuts, huh?" Diane's cousin, Cherie, has a friend Conrad who regards all Californians as "meatheads" and refuses to even come here because it is too crowded (an interesting sentiment for someone who lives in the third most populated city area in the United States).
So, when I saw Singletary take a hard line, I thought maybe that was a good thing: that we needed some discipline. Sure enough the Niners rebounded from a 2-5 start to finish 7-9, but 5-4 under their new coach, and then the Niners went 8-8 in 2009, with a solid and emerging defense, a good offense with a great running back in Frank Gore.
The only question was at QB, but surely the Niners would improve in the NFC West, for it seemed pretty much a forgone conclusion that the team would make the playoffs this year, for a three year arc of improvement for most teams like San Francisco displayed is the script.
Well, apparently no one told Singletary, or the team, as they started out a hopeless 0-5 this year in a pathetically weak division, where maybe the Rams will finish at .500, but maybe not.
In fact before San Francisco lost to them last Sunday, they amazingly still were in contention.
Clearly, we might have needed some discipline all right, but over the long term, not really Singletary's type it seems. I am sorry for Mike, as noted, but well, the irony is that the former Bear turned me into a Bears fan thanks to the lackadaisical play of San Francisco.
And, we all know the Bears are going to the playoffs.