The San Francisco 49ers made it easy to read between the lines. The firing of Mike Singletary and the immediate hiring of Jim Tomsula as the one-game interim head coach led everyone to believe that a big name head coach was coming.
Jim Tomsula has no shot at becoming the head coach of the 49ers. The 49ers passed on coaches within the organization like Greg Manusky, who could make a case for being a head coach in the NFL. The decision to pursue a "big fish" was appealing to 49er fans.
Speculation has been swarming who would take over the job for 2011. Jon Gruden has coached in the Bay Area before. The 49ers have a talented roster and flexibility at the quarterback position, so it seemed as though they might be able to land a quarterback with a Super Bowl ring on his finger.
Jim Harbaugh is the current head coach at Stanford. If Harbaugh were the head coach of the 49ers, he could sleep in his own bed, his family wouldn't have to move and he could take over a team that can easily be transformed.
There have been many names thrown out on the table. Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, Dom Capers, Ron Rivera, etc. In a move that is going to rub many people the wrong way, the 49ers are meeting with current head coach of the Bengals, Marvin Lewis on Monday.
Marvin Lewis is a coach who specializes in defense. In his eight years in Cincinnati, he went 60-69-1. He did make the playoffs with the Bengals, but Lewis has struggled mightily for most of his years with the Bengals. The Bengals were in disarray this season and finished with a 4-12 record.
If the 49ers are trying to pursue a head coach that can lead them to the promise land, it is difficult to see why they would go after Lewis. Perhaps you can't judge a coach by his success over a span of a year or two, but after eight seasons in Cincinnati, Lewis had plenty of time to turn the franchise around.
He leaves behind an organization that is left in ruins. Lewis is a big fan of bringing in players to give them second chances. The Bengals have a roster packed with players who have character issues. Today, the Bengals are loaded with a number of players who have questionable track records and very few wins in the NFL.
The 49ers haven't hired a head coach who had a winning record in the NFL this decade. While Lewis has the most experience by a long shot, he would have to go 9-0 just to get to .500 on his career. Mike Singletary was just let go for having a sub .500 record.
It appears that if the 49ers hire Marvin Lewis, they will be going in circles. Another questionable head coach is not what the 49ers need. The short list of candidates should only include coaches that have seen success throughout their career. Another hire of a coach with upside simply isn't in the best interest of San Francisco.
A new stadium is coming and the 49ers have had a revolving door at head coach. After being burned so many times, wouldn't it be more fitting to play it safe? Marvin Lewis hasn't been able to excel with the Bengals after almost a decade. He leaves behind a franchise that just as crippled as when he arrived.
Could Marvin Lewis succeed in San Francisco?
The 49ers can't afford to take a step backward. Even mentioning the name Marvin Lewis makes it seem like another decade of rebuilding lies in the near future for the 49ers. Despite that, it seems unlikely that they will go with Lewis. They also noted they were targeting Harbaugh as their No. 1 candidate. The drop off between Harbaugh and Lewis could be Super Bowl to missing the playoffs again.
Lewis' camp contacted the 49ers. The 49ers have nothing to lose by bringing in Lewis for talks, but engaging in conversations with him prior to meeting with Harbaugh, Jeff Fisher, Gruden, and other big name head coaches makes it seem as though he is high on the list of potential candidates.
If the 49ers want any shot at righting their wrongs and pleasing their fan base, speaking with suppar coaches might not be the best way to execute their goals.