In January 2005, Mike Nolan was called a great hire.
In January 2006, Mike Nolan was celebrated as an excellent first-year coach.
This past January, Nolan was hailed as leader of an NFL organization on the rise. And just three months ago, Nolan was praised for leading the 49ers through an outstanding trip through free agency and the draft. Everybody said so. Everybody.
Now, three months later, Nolan needs a general manager? He’s no longer worthy of having final say in this football organization? He needs somebody to hold his hand?
Three months in sports is nothing. Three months ago Brett Favre was washed up. Three months ago Randy Moss was nothing but trouble.
It’s ludicrous to think it was going to be a straight line, a smooth sail from where the 49ers were at the end of the Terry Donahue era — absolute rock-bottom in terms of talent and direction — to where they want to be. Only the truly football-challenged could be so fooled.
And that’s the biggest disappointment in this disappointing Niners season, that the Yorks — John, Jed and Denise — have learned nothing from recent years. Simply a rumor of reversing course now would show this trifecta hasn’t a clue how to build a winner and they’re out their telling the media that’s what they’re thinking. Unbelievable.
Imagine the 49ers’ locker room now. Tough times are part of rebuilding. Strength of conviction in the face of adversity is partof the equation. And, unfortunately, we’ve been reminded once again that the 49ers don’t have it.
A new leader? We don’t even know where Nolan’s leadership was going to get this team. Reacting to these bumpy times by undermining the man they put in place is mind-boggling. To not have discussed whether such a change might help Nolan and his crew is unfathomable.
And yet that’s where we are with the 49ers.
Nolan is by no means blameless for where the Niners find themselves. But now that he seemingly no longer has a chance to lead this team out of this forest of frustration, we’ll never know how the Niners according to Nolan would have turned out.
And, as disappointing as this season has been up ’til now, Niners fans now have nothing but more disappointment ahead. And they have nobody but John, Jed and Denise to blame for that.
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Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.