If the 49ers lose Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks, fans will be booing and hissing, but underneath, deep down, a great sigh of relief will rumble through their collective intestinal tract, happily wending it’s way to the Ahhh Zone hole. It’s rare that losing produces more pleasure than winning, but that is what this 2010 team has brought us.
To many fans, a win Sunday keeps alive the scary possibility that Mike Singletary, and maybe even Alex Smith, will still be here when the 2011 season eventually rolls around. A trip to the playoffs, with a 7-9 record, would mean the team went 7-4 after the disastrous 0-5 start. This sort of turn around would encourage most franchises, but not this one.
A loss Sunday will guarantee the team wins no more than five games and gets a seat in the top ten in next year’s draft. It currently sits in the number seven spot. It also means Singletary and Smith will conduct the rest of their lives somewhere else. No definition of weird could surpass the one this season has produced, where a majority of fans would be more pleased with failure than success. In fact, Smith might even get cheered if he tosses an interception Sunday and it would be no surprise if he waved and took a bow in response.
Singletary is on the hot seat now, but in four weeks the seat that will be the hottest will be the one under Jed York’s keister. He’s dutifully supported Singletary this year, but lately there have been signs that changes are already underway in the Niner front office, hinting at a sweeping reorganization in progress.
It’s probably no coincidence that Eddie DeBartolo has resurfaced lately, talking about the paramount need for strong leadership in the front office, even more than the leadership on the field. It doesn’t seem likely he would be talking this way if Jed were not about to make some dramatic front office changes. It’s also difficult to imagine those changes not occurring with the coaching staff as well. Whatever he does, or doesn’t do, is likely to affect the franchise for the next five years.
Confusion, uncertainty, and indifference are evident these days. For a team that is still in the hunt for a playoff berth, there is precious little rah-rah talk coming from the players. Instead, they are shrugging at the Head Coach’s decisions, giving it the WTFKs and WTFCs attitude. “Just got a job to do” has replaced “we can do this” as a team motto. The players have not yet mailed in the season, but a lot of envelopes and stamps are showing up in the locker room.
The Niners are a better team than the Seahawks, but it’s difficult to imagine they will take the field with as much enthusiasm as their opponent. Guys just doing their jobs don’t often win in the NFL and this Sunday could be just another example of that sorry reality.