San Francisco 49ers: The New Laughing Stock of the NFL?

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IOctober 20, 2008

So the San Francisco 49ers have now gone through another head coach after Mike Nolan got the all but expected axe Monday night.

But is this really a shock?

It seemed like a fairy tale back when Nolan was hired by the 49ers. The up-and-coming coordinator taking over for the team his father once coached while talking the talk and walking the walking, making everybody a believer in one quick press conference.

However, he was handed the incredible task of trying to transform the once-storied Niners back into contenders, Nolan made the first of his bad decisions: drafting Alex Smith with the No.1 pick in 2005.

The former Utah quarterback was drafted more because there was nobody better in the coaches, although some people think that Smith wouldn't have even been drafted in the first round if there were more suitable competition.

Nolan and Smith will forever be linked in Niners supporters' minds as two people who set the franchise back another four years. As the two blamed each other for how they handled Smith's shoulder injury last season, the train to get Nolan out almost derailed it was going so fast.

When he was relieved of his player personnel duties before the season started, people thought that maybe he would do a better job because he only had one job to pay attention to.

But then came training camp.

The coach decided this summer that his quarterback would be a guy who seems like he has been cut by half the league: J.T. O'Sullivan. The former UC Davis quarterback "won" the competition not because he was the best option but because the other two competing with him, Smith and Shaun Hill, basically flopped.

As the team is battling again for a top five draft pick, the question is going to be raised on more than one occasion: Where do we go from here?

Yes, Nolan has brought in some talent on defense, most notably linebacker Patrick Willis, but the franchise is an even bigger mess now that he is gone.

The York family has done nothing to help. Yeah, they have splashed cash in the past few free agent markets, but those signings have yet to pay the dividends of their big-time figures.

Honestly, they are more interested in getting the team their stadium in Santa Clara than picking a coach and a team that can compete and get them back to respectability.

Will it ever happen? Yeah, probably. But anytime soon? Doesn't look like it.

To Mike Singletary, you have my best wishes. If this gets any worse, they might as well be called the Oakland 49ers with Al York as their owner.