Earlier today, Brad Childress was fired after Minnesota's dismal performance so far this season. Two weeks ago, Wade Phillips was fired after his team's lackluster performance. These were not entirely unexpected moves, and they may foreshadow change in San Francisco. Why? Both Phillips and Childress were fired after their teams were brutalized by the Green Bay Packers.
Will the situation be the same for Mike Singletary after the 49ers' Week 13 game in Green Bay? Only time will tell, but it's not entirely unlikely.
After this weekend's brutal showing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things already look bleak for San Francisco, and Mike Singletary is going to pay the price. Coaching a team to last place in the NFC West—a division led by Seattle with a 5-5 record (not even good enough to be third in most divisions)—is pretty bad. Being shut out at home for the first time in over 20 years? Inexcusable. Players are giving up, fans are giving up and now Singletary being fired is a matter of "when," not "if."
Assuming the 49ers manage to pull out a win against the equally inept Cardinals, they still go into Lambeau Field with a 4-7 record to play a Green Bay Packers team that generally dominated them in the last 10 years. It's not going to be pretty, and odds are that San Francisco leaves Lambeau with a 4-8 record and remain in or near the cellar of the worst division in football. This game means a lot to the 49ers, just like it did to the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.
Dallas and Green Bay have been hating each other for decades, and this year's drubbing was unacceptable to the fans. Green Bay and Minnesota are divisional rivals, and their last two matchups have had the Brett Favre factor to amp up the intensity. Each of those teams was crushed by Green Bay, and it caused everyone within each organization to start laying blame. San Francisco will undoubtedly feel the same thing.
Mike Singletary has been a mess all year. He has caused far too many mistakes for a head coach at any level. The Green Bay game should come as a wakeup call to a lot of people.
After being embarrassed this week by Tampa Bay, it is clear that San Francisco is not an elite team. If history repeats itself, the outcome of the Green Bay game will only serve to reinforce this notion. Given all the talent on the roster, though, this should not be the case.
In fact, 49er fans will only have to look at the Packers to see their ideal team that (on paper) San Francisco should be. Both have solid linebacking corps, but only the Packers show up consistently; both have similar-style quarterbacks drafted in 2005, but only one has made anything of himself.
Coaching is a big reason for the difference. On Sunday it was clear the team was giving up on Singletary. For a coach who brings nothing to the table except "passion," he has failed in doing even that. At this point, any change in coaching would be a good idea. What is there to lose, really?
If San Francisco brings in a new coach for the last few games and excels, then the 49ers have a new coach heading into next season, giving them that much more time with the team. And if they fail? At least the organization can prove to the fans that they are trying new things, and trying to fix this team.
In any case, when the 49ers play the Packers in two weeks, we Faithful will get to see the team we wish we had beat the team we have. With any luck the management will see this as well and follow Dallas' and Minnesota's lead, and fire Mike Singletary.