Everybody appreciates what Mike Singletary has done for this team. When he was announced as the interim coach in the middle of the season, fans were hopeful but most were looking at other coaching options that were available after the season was over. But instead of Singletary shrinking away like most interim coaches, he immediately grabbed the helm and set the 49ers off in the right direction.
In his first game he single handily changed everything the 49ers once were under Mike Nolan. He yanked J.T. O'Sullivan for Shaun Hill, made Martz do less of a seven step “suicide” drop and focus more on running, and told all those in the media what he expected of his 49ers and that he wouldn't except anything less. These actions plus those of putting Vernon Davis on notice and giving rookie Chilo Rachal the chance to start at guard, led the 49ers to winning five of their last seven games.
Both his player management and tough tenacity for the game have been nothing less then stellar, but there have been some pitfalls. His inexperience as a head coach is a tad worrisome, and the fact that he isn't an X's and O's kind of guy, causes concern that he will be too reliant on his offensive and defensive coordinators. Also his unorthodox motivational policies has led to some media scrutiny and speculation.
So you may be asking, why I am bringing this up now? Well lately their have been some upsurging, in the media especially, calling into question whether Singletary was the right decision for the job, or was he just a fan pleasing decision? Personally I believe he is both.
While it is true that there were a myriad of top flight NFL coaches available this off season, would that have really been the best route? Bill Cowher is a great coach, but I think if the 49ers were to try to get him, it would have been way too much. His systems are vastly different than the 49ers, and the year or two we would have wasted while he got “his guys” in, would have just slowed down the development of this potential riddled team.
Mike Shanahan would have been an interesting choice, but I think currently he is more of a shadow of his former self than that of a Hall of Fame coach. Over the last three years his record has been 24 and 24, he has let the Bronco's defense dip to the top 5 worst in the league, and his tenure concluded with a historic collapse with Denver becoming the first team since divisional play, to blow a three-game lead with three games left. The only way I would have approved of Shanahan coming to the 49ers, was if he came with Jay Cutler in tow.
A few other big names that were still out there was Marty Schottenheimer, Jason Garrett, and Pete Carrol, among others. But none of these guys bring to the table what Mike "Samurai" Singletary brings, and that is a pair of football sized brass nuts... and 10 pro-bowl appearances.
This team isn't in the need of rebuilding, and they aren't a team who has hit a wall of success (i.e. can't get past the first round of the playoffs), this team is a team with serious potential that needs a commander to help realize it. A commander who can lead his troops into battle each week and get the very best from them. That means executing, playing with passion all four quarters, and being physical with a capital “F”.
Singletary brings all of those things as well as the respect of every person who has ever met the man. He is one of those people who as soon as he walks into a room everybody becomes quiet. When he talked to a small group of us at training camp two years ago, his voice had such gravitas that every word he spoke you felt, and by the end you couldn't help but feel a bit inspired. When you look up the word “leader” in the dictionary, Mike Singletary picture isn't next to the definition, it is the definition.
The number one thing a coach should have is the confidence of every man on his team, and Singletary has that in spades. The 49ers may not be the best team or even a playoff team next year, but you can be damn sure that they will be a better team. I can not think of one instance where Mike “Samurai” Singletary has failed to accomplish something, so why should this time be any different?