Mike Singletary handled his dismissal with class and dignity, and it was a reminder that what this once-proud franchise seeks is a return to it's old slogan: winning with class.
At least Sing and Smith have had the second half of this concept down.
They never did breach the .500 mark in their careers as 49ers, but they never had any personal issues that made waves.
The biggest knock on Singletary was his inflexibility; Alex's problem was that he was just too nice.
Smith handled adversity always, and his patience has been amazing.
He's been thrown into the fire, and thrown under the bus; he's been injured, benched, and reinstated several times; and Alex has played for more offensive coordinators in six years than many quarterbacks see in their entire careers.
When it's all said and done, Alex will be a symbol of the 49ers' mediocrity over the last half decade, and it's almost a shock they weren't worse.
Alex Smith was booed by his own "fans" this year on a couple occasions.
Against the Eagles, Smith received boos and chants of "We Want Carr" when Quintin Mikell returned one of Smith's fumbles for a touchdown. Singletary gave Smith one of his infamous pep-talks, and Smith battled back with some choice words of his own. Smith then battled back with two touchdowns of his own too, before sealing the 49ers fate with a late game-clinching interception.
Several weeks later, a couple weeks into the Troy-Alex quarterback-controversy era, Troy Smith was benched in flavour of of Alex as they went up against the Seattle Seahawks in a must-win divisional matchup.
As Smith took the field, the boo birds rained down on him with a torrent of low notes. Smith went on to toss for three touchdowns and a 130.9 passer rating in one of only two lopsided 49ers wins this season.
Say what you want about Alex Smith, but San Francisco has now made him mentally tough.
Many 49ers fans are arguing that losing the game will be beneficial because of the implications regarding the 2011 draft. The reality is that losing intentionally is disrespectful to the players and will harvest resentment from them.
Win or lose, San Francisco fans must keep their heads up as the final gun sounds, and must enter the off season with dignity.
San Francisco fans will be be a far more respectable group if they can let Alex Smith go without the jeers.
Stay classy San Francisco!
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