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The 49ers Front Office: A Critical Year Redux

Leave it to the San Francisco 49ers Front Office to make the off-season even more interesting. The shocking sudden departure of Scot McCloughan has surpassed any drama that Al Davis and Co. staged before the draft. The 49ers sharing a stadium with the Raiders? They might as well share the same office space after what happened a couple of days ago. Exit, stage left? It’s more a clandestine "GET OFF THE STAGE" for Scot McCloughan. Sam Shepard should book a flight to SFO ASAP to get ideas for his next play.

What seemed for the first time in a long time for the 49ers Front Office was the promise of harmony and stability. We had our primary cast of Jed York as President, Scot McCloughan as GM, and the real star of the show, Head Coach Mike Singletary to bring the audience of 49er fans to a standing ovation during the run of the show into January and beyond. "Death of a GM", featuring Willy McLoman had it’s final curtain in San Francisco. But we’re not standing and cheering. We’re still waiting for the next act.

Enter:  Mike Singletary.

I think the 49ers idea, and this could be either good or bad, is that the Head Coach is the true identity of the team. It may stem from the success of Bill Walsh, and Walsh provided a model that a lot of other NFL franchises replicated. I think we are now in the era of the "Uber" coach in the NFL. Look at the success of Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, and Tony Dungy. Those three examples show that despite what they have had for casting, they still have a lot of input on who can execute their script. Mike Nolan was hired due to the 49ers trying to follow the script of the Uber coach. Where the 49ers missed on Nolan was that first, you have to have experience to lead your production.

Springtime for Nolan, starring Kevan Barlow, staged by The Producers.

As much credit as we should give to Scot McCloughan as a personnel guy, just how was he more effective to an Uber coach then as a General Manager? One has to consider how much turmoil the 49ers were in when the York’s - it’s pretty cryptic who which York really had the true decisive "trigger" then - promoted McCloughan. Terry Donahue really had more say and clout as GM than McCloughan has had in the same fuzzy (for the 49ers) capacity and job description. Nolan had final say during his stint as Uber coach. McClougan’s exit is another move towards the Uber coach in Singletary. The only reason to me on why McCloughan was promoted to GM wasn’t because the York’s wanted a real GM with experience. The reason is because their Uber coach failed at their first try in Nolan.

Singletary is now the point man, the Uber coach, the Alpha male as far as marketing that now has the responsibility that Mike Nolan had. Jed York is banking on Singletary much like his father had on Nolan. Even though McCloughan’s impact on this team is tangible, it may not have aligned with the challenges the 49ers Front Office will face going forward. McCloughan wasn’t a good GM at all, considering all of the problems the 49ers have had as soon as he was announced as GM. In 2 years, the 49ers had all kinds of issues with the NFL and player agents while McCloughan was GM. Real GM’s wield true power. If you don’t like Mike Martz, he isn’t hired. If you have to fire Mike Nolan, then you do sooner than later.

The 49ers really don’t want an experienced GM. McCloughan was hired as one simply because the York’s had to due the the poor FO structure they had then, as well due to the public outcry for them to get their (site decorum) together. Despite this latest drama, they may finally be onto something. What is it? It’s "Singletary Football". The Uber coach who will qualify the expenditure of billboards. The thing is, if he is not the answer and fails, it won’t be due his hard work, passion, intellect, and his acumen on football.

It lands within the real issue of current 49er football. Experience.