Frank Sinatra would’ve been proud of Mike Singletary.
Though he’s out of work and getting little sympathy from the press, the Chicago legend can take a measure of comfort from Old Blue Eyes’ famous lyric: “I did it my way!”
The former head coach of the 49ers never kow-towed to his players nor compromised on his principles. And with pride intact he’ll probably never get another call to take the reins of an NFL team apart from an interim position.
Getting confrontational or going ballistic may be all the rage in the high school and collegiate ranks (Bo Pelini), but it won’t pass muster in the pro game where communication skills are as important as the Xs and Os.
A perfectionist who demanded the same execution from his players that he demanded from himself as a Bear, Singletary was no loose cannon or brow-beater. Like most gurus he is too quick to anger. I did, however, sense an instructiveness in his sideline lectures, not the bully tactics that players endured under the likes of Bobby Knight and Woody Hayes.
The firing was no surprise, although happening one week before season’s end does smack of owner disloyalty. The possibility of dismissal has been bantered about for months. It may explain Mike’s expression of religious faith in prominently wearing the cross during games. He could read the handwriting on the wall and again, decided to go out his way.
But principles won’t pay-off the mortgage or buy that new boat.
Given the pathetic state of defense (and special teams coverage) across the NFL, Mike Singletary should be coordinating on someone’s sideline next season.
There’s an old Gallic proverb that can prove helpful when life becomes too frustrating. I hope Mike comes across it before sending out his job résumé next year. It goes something like this: God, grant me the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I cannot and the wisdom to know the difference.
Keys to Sport
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.