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Posted at 5:37 AM ET, 12/27/2010

Mike Singletary fired by 49ers, leaves memorable body of work

By Cindy Boren

Mike Singletary's time as coach of the San Francisco 49ers ended with his firing after another loss and say this about his tenure: it was a dramatic and sometimes wacky run.

Never too busy to stir up a little in-game sideline controversy, Singletary (5-10 this year after an 0-5 start; 18-22 overall) leaves one last clip, exchanging strategies with Troy Smith and benching him during the Niners' 25-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

The Singletary era was notable for the cantankerous coach's unorthodox emotional methods, which ranged from the odd to the confrontational. There was a report of a pantsless pep talk during one halftime. Another time, he vented about a "rat" in the organization. And who can forget the time he sent Vernon Davis to the showers, an incident that ended with a press conference that will singlehandedly reinvigorate the the sagging Coors Light clips franchise for years.

By Cindy Boren  | December 27, 2010; 5:37 AM ET
Categories:  NFL  
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Some times I think owners can't decipher what it really takes to win in a different era. When SF had championship caliber teams, they had championship caliber players. Rice, Montana, Young, Craig, Hanks, Dion, etc. The players they have in this era are not those of yester-year! Singletary has a good philosophy, or had I should say. You can't build a team when players think it's about them! Or when players publicly adverse to what your leader/head coach Singletary is trying to address. I don't care how wrong Singletary may or may not have been, Smith is out of his position, as a leader in the QB position, to show such disrespect for his superior. The very superior that gave him a shot to lead the 49'ers! Smith in my opinion, has just hurt his chances w/ another team. He would not even be considered for a team I'm coaching or owned. If he shows this type of insubordination here, where next? Is this a new T.O. on the horizon? At least T.O. had the numbers to back him up. Smith has no foundation thus far to even consider such behavior. So Singletary is no longer an issue. I'm sure that's fine w/ Davis and Smith. But one thing is for certain, until another no nonsense coach is hired, the 49'ers will continue to struggle. You can't have a Mr. Nice Guy for a coach and expect young millionaires to put it all on the line voluntarily! I would love to have a Mike Singletary coaching the Redskins at some position! You need coaches like this to bring out the best in players. And for them, the players, to realize this is blessing to play in the NFL. And you had better take it seriously, or go play some place else!

Posted by: hoganincharge | December 27, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Davis. Another example of a player that thinks it's all about him! Players fight in the passion, I get it! This is football! When superiors give you a direct order, you follow it! Coach told Davis numerous times to come to him. I would imagine to calm him down and to resolve the situation. Davis continues to walk away while saying, "he's good!" Excuse me! Coach didn't ask if you were "good!" He TOLD you to come over there! No questions or comments needed, just get your body over there! I hope w/ all my might that this Commissioner Goodell, puts a new fire in this league. So that "all about themselves" players can have a quick exit to regular life. Let's see then how they roam around society w/ that mentality. Won't last long!

Posted by: hoganincharge | December 27, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

It's too bad SF didn't have better players. I like Singletary. Liked him as a player, and liked him as a coach. Old school, not like these a** clowns who do a stupid dance after catching a 5 yard pass.

Posted by: johnfchick1 | December 27, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

What I'll miss most is Dave Letterman's bits with an even more wacked out Singletary impersonator. I thought they were hilarious.

Posted by: justmike | December 27, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Great player. Bogus coach.

Now Mike'll have all day to do that bullfrog thing with his face where his cheeks puff out and his eyes pop out.

Hopefully Singletary will use his time off to watch some Bill Walsh or Bill Belichick tapes on modern NFL coaching (we said "modern," Lombardi couldn't coach today's players), chill a bit, and then come back and coach the Skins to a Super Bowl.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 27, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

did you ever see some of the major courses given to the college players while they are in college.every student that goes to college and plays sports on a sports scholarship,should have to complete two majors.

Posted by: SISSD1 | December 27, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Is there any rhyme or reason to firing him with one game to go? I know some player contracts are loaded with "incentive clauses," some of which include number of games played. Is it possible that he would have gotten some bonus for lasting the whole season?

Posted by: Cossackathon | December 27, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I have always like Mike, but I do not think he was prepared enough to coach. I think he lacked the technical aspects of coaching primarily on offense.

Posted by: Sincere4040 | December 27, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Knew this guy wasn't coaching material early on. HoF player, but that didn't make him coach material. You can't "coach" players (especially today's multi-millionaire playes) the same way you "coach" your teammates.

Posted by: peauxsucent888 | December 27, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

When you have A LOSING TEAM, the cry is always "FIRE THE COACH." Great players make winning teams; winning teams make great coaches. Singletary's problem was NO GREAT PLAYERS.

Posted by: rdorff | December 27, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Singletary was a great player, but his old school coaching style doesn't resonate at all w/ today's spoiled players.

Posted by: randysbailin | December 27, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Until an owner is willing to commit to giving a head coach unwavering authority and tenure, ala Vince Lombardi, Chuck Knoll, Don Shula and Tom Landry, coaches won't be able to do the long term, future oriented building it takes to have a consistent winner. I think players, like children, count on a well established authority figure that will "always be there" so to speak.

Posted by: tifoso1 | December 27, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

the players in San Fran loved Singletary. notice that Vernon davis became a captain on the team. it's an NFL film peice that talks about how singletary loves the kid. singletary was done under by the one thing that KILLS most NFL coaches, HE NEVER HAD A QB!!!!!!

one week Alex smith looks like the #1 pick he was, the next week he looks like Heath Shuler.

Posted by: oknow1 | December 27, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Davis played better after this. But hey, why focus on the facts when WaPo can bash another black man? I'd take Singletary (honesty) over a Mike Shanahan (manipulation and deceit) any day. And for all this "technical aspects", c'mon; it's till football. You hit the other guy harder, you win. What, did Bill Cowher have such a great command of the "technical aspects"? I bet Chilly was great on "technical aspects", how'd that work out?

Posted by: gbooksdc | December 27, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

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