San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is coaching virtually the exact same team he inherited from former head coach and current Minnesota Vikings assistant Mike Singletary. The results have been vastly different however. Singletary mustered only a 5-10 season before being fired, Harbaugh on the other hand, he went 13-3 and took his team from a couple of Kyle Williams fumbles away from the Super Bowl.
The 49ers are now the consensus #1 team in the NFL heading into week 3, what a difference a coach makes. Alex Smith, once regarded as a huge bust and one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL, is now the leagues second highest rated passer. And today, he gets a chance to show his former coach just how badly he missed.
Sideline rants and multiple benchings of his starting QB in favor of the now out of the NFL Troy Smith, were the way of life during the Singletary era. After he was fired, Singletary had this to say “You have to have a QB” this after proclaiming that the QB wasn’t the most important position on the team.
Anybody doubting Smith and his abilities to lead a winning team now are either downright stupid or they just aren’t paying attention to Niner football. Smith has been nearly flawless since the famous “We want Carr” chants rained through 49er stadium. It’s revenge time now Mr. Singletary. Smith won’t say it, he’ll be his normal, polite self, he won’t give the opposition anything in terms of fuel, he’ll keep quiet. When asked about it, he’ll say something nice about his former coach I’m sure and probably compliment his current coach, that’s just his nature.
Smith has been through so much in San Francisco, from joining one of the worst football teams imaginable in 2005. To his toughness being questioned by Mike Nolan for an injury that later required not one, but two surgeries. Multiple public lashings on the sidelines by Singletary and many others. To now being a top flight QB in the NFL, Smith’s story is truly one of triumph.
I just hope that after a huge play or after the 49ers destroy the Vikings today, that Smith glances over at his former coach and gives him a look. Better yet, I hope he goes up to him with a smile for the cameras and whispers in his ears, “You gotta have a QB huh” or maybe “Isn’t this the same team you couldn’t coach?”. It’s not Smith’s style, I wish I could do it for him, in fact, if I ever have the displeasure of meeting Sing, I will tell him what a screw up of a head coach he was. It won’t happen, but it sure will be nice to watch Alex prove one of his biggest doubters wrong, again.