Friday, September 17, 2010

The 49ers

Everyone seemed to be on the bandwagon before the week 1 loss.  If more than 10 people say that a team is their "dark horse" for a given season, doesn't that team lose the "dark horse" status?  Anyway, I actually like the 49ers, I think they have the best defensive player in the NFL (although if Ray Lewis plays the way he did on Monday night all season, he's the best), they have a great RB, a top 3 TE, a freakishly talented young WR and a sub par QB.  With all that, I can understand why everyone was on their jock.  Here's the problem with the 9ers though: Mike Singletary.

The coach is an unbelievable competitor.  Everyone in the media loves him because of his approach.  He's super intense, says and does all of the right things.  He acts right and expects everyone around him to act right.  But he won't win in the NFL.  As a former collegiate football coach I've had the opportunity to hear a bunch of the coaching "stars" speak in a clinic setting.  I've heard Singletary twice, both times at the American Football Coaches Association national convention.  Now for those of you who have never been to the AFCA convention, it's not too much different than any other large, professional convention.  There are workshops, known as clinics in the coaching world, vendors selling football related products, special guest speakers, meetings for different bodies and lots of beer.  There's also about 9,000 football coaches that attend the 3 day spectacle.  It's quite a sight.

Anyway, back to the point on Singletary.  After hearing him speak this last winter, the convention was in January, I walked out of the room with a fellow coach and said, "that guy is amazing, but he won't win with any consistency in the NFL."  My colleague disagreed, strongly.  Singletary is almost as impressive a speaker as he was a player.  He's amazing.  Very thoughtful, very intelligent, VERY intense.  He has a certain belief system and he lives his life in a very strict and disciplined manner.  And that's why he won't win.  He is the kind of head coach that other coaches want to coach for.  He absolutely sustains his life on football.  He's the kind of intense, no-nonsense guy that doesn't put up with ANY bullshit.  And that's his flaw.  To me, in the NFL, you have to be able to put up with some level of BS.  When you get to the NFL as a player, it's because you're a sweet football player.  In most cases, those guys have been the best player on their respective pop warner, high school and college teams.  If you've ever been the best at anything, or been observant enough to watch someone who is the best at something, you'll understand the kind of ego that comes with greatness.  When you're dealing with that kind of ego and confidence, pounding the greater good angle doesn't always work out so well.  What's more, the money and sense of entitlement that is prevalent in professional sports today further limits a guy like Singletary because he will lose half of the locker room.  Not everyone in the NFL lives, eats and breathes the game of football the way Singletary does and I don't think he'll be able to get out of his comfort zone in time to find out how to motivate those guys who don't.  Maybe he'll win in his second job, but this season is pivotal for him.  If the 49ers go 8-8 and don't find a way to win THAT division, he'll lose the locker room for sure.  I hope it doesn't happen, but I'm afraid it will...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Props to the Pioneers

Grinnell College got a huge win this Saturday beating Monmouth College.  Great effort by the Pioneers, beating Monmouth for the first time since I was a player in 2000!