Well, here is your new face of the San Francisco 49ers. Initial thoughts? Aside from being totally hyp-no-tized, I have to say that it really couldn't be any worse than the old one. There was perhaps no coach in the NFL one wanted to see succeed more than Mike Nolan — really, has anyone ever had a bad thing to say about him, personally? — but somehow you know it just wouldn't work. Nolan was canned on Monday, and say what you will about the timing, at least it wasn't the ridiculous circus we saw across the Bay with the Raiders. In Nolan's honor, I am wearing a suit for the duration of my blogging day. As the Chronicle's Gwenn Knapp pointed out this morning, you have to give credit to Nolan for trying. He really had his heart in the right place.
When he incurred the wrath of fans by not going for a first down on a critical 4th-and-1 in St. Louis in 2006, he ordered up some research on how other coaches handled that call. After he discovered that the most successful coaches tended to be the most adventurous, he vowed to go for it more himself. He couldn't overcome his conservative nature, though, and in truth the prevent defense cost them that game against the Rams more than the decision to kick a field goal on 4th-and-1.
But an 18-37 record over three-plus seasons, capped by a loss to the Giants last week in a world in which both the Raiders and Rams won, just wasn't going to cut it. So Mike is out and Mike is in — Singletary, that is — the Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker and Houston native who was the 49ers linebackers coach. This was pretty inevitable anyway; Singletary interviewed for the Chargers and Cowboys head coaching openings in 2007, and passed up a chance to be the head coach at Baylor this year. And just in case that doesn't work, there's another Mike in reserve — Martz — who has to be wondering, what the hell do I have to do to be a head coach again? Sad to see Nolan go; his dad, Dick Nolan, was my favorite 49er coach outside of Walsh. I was hoping this could have been kept in the family, but things like that rarely work out. Case in point: The current ownership. Even though they opened the purse strings appreciably this season, one still gets the feeling that, until the Yorks finally sell this team, Super Bowls and San Francisco will continue to be strangers. Ultimately, Nolan Was An Ill-Suited 49ers Coach [SFGate] OK Move, But Timing Is Awful [SFGate]