I didn’t go to Family Day at Candlestick Park last Saturday, but I listened to part of the proceedings on KNBR. At one point, 49ers coach Mike Singletary was asked whether he was changing anything in his approach for 2010.
Singletary said he planned to talk to the officials less. He had a smile in his voice, and the KNBR crew chuckled. But I wondered whether there was some truth in Singletary’s pronouncement, so I asked him today after practice.
“I mean that,” the coach said. “It’s full seriousness, and I mean that.”
I followed up, asking Coach Sing whether he had been penalized during games (by officials) or after (by the league office), or whether the move was more proactive.
“No, it had nothing to do with anything else, or anything the league did or anything that anybody said,” he replied. “It’s just that I tell my players I don’t want them arguing with the referees. So if I’m telling them I don’t want them to do it, then I need to lead by example the same way. It’s as simple as that. Bottom line is it doesn’t accomplish anything anyways. All it does is really tick me off. I’ll just leave that to the ref.”
That’s typical Singletary, constantly evaluating and reevaluating his own performance and the way he carries himself. But it will be interesting to see whether he can carry through on his vow. Though he preaches self-control, those who have observed Singletary carefully over the past 19 months characterize himself as a highly emotional leader.
Can he simply turn his griping on and off? We’ll know the first time Alex Smith gets hit with a borderline intentional-grounding call in a crucial moment.