The Nightmare By The Bay (Part One)

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: November 4, 2008

CALIFORNIA — Four of the Bay Area’s six professional teams have really struggled over the past three years. Each of them have made several coaching changes. Each of them have made massive personnel changes, but it seems like they are in the proverbial “Black Hole” (pun intended).

The Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A’s, and San Francisco Giants are at the bottom of their respective divisions and conferences.

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors are like that cute, foxy lady that never satisfies a man’s needs year after year; while the NHL’s San Jose Sharks stand alone atop the Pacific Division and Western Conference with a six-game home unbeaten streak.

Today, we take a look at the Niners, Raiders, and Giants.


The Niners made the right choice last month for the head coaching duties with Mike Singletary becoming the interim coach. After his first game, the “Law and Order” man formerly from the Chicago Bears made his presence felt immediately with his “Can’t Do It!!” speech.

Coach Singletary stated the responsibility of each player on this team. He singled out young Vernon Davis, committing a stupid personal foul in the fourth quarter. Singletary was trying to instill pride to this group of players that team unity can overcome some of this team’s pitfalls.

Someone in the locker room may not think so because a very unusual story leaked out last week about Singletary dropping his paints and pointing at his backside stating how his team played in the first half against the Seattle Seahawks that Sunday.

Singletary’s first administrative action was to bench quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan and put in Shaun Hill. NFL quarterbacks are suppose to improve with each passing game. However, O’Sullivan does not seem to have these skills and it has hurt the Niners offense the past two years.

Every professional quarterback has an internal clock that tells him the rush is coming and that he must get rid of the football. J.T. never mastered this skill and created fumbles or got sacked too many times.

For example The New York Football Giants took a chance with a young Eli Manning three years ago. Manning took the Giants to the Super Bowl last winter, improving with each game. He also mastered the skills needed to guide New York to a championship.

Singletary has to understand his actions in the locker room or on the podium reflects the mood of the team, the city, and the players. He is like many other great players who have expected others to play like he played.

“Can’t Do It!!”.

These 49ers cannot and never will play like the 1985-87 Bears. They don’t have the skills of that Super Bowl Championship team.Three years ago, this organization had a chance to hire a strong minded and strong willed, great football mind like Pete Carroll, the head coach of University of Southern California.

Instead, they employed mild mannered Mike Nolan, son of Dick Nolan who coached the 49ers to the NFC Western title twice in the 1970s. The Niners organization wanted to keep the head coaching job in the family. But while in this process, the Niners have regressed.

It seems like the 49ers do not want a strong man like Bill Parcells or Jimmy Johnson to direct this team. Hiring Singletary is a start but there are so many other issues with this west coast team.

The 49ers can forget about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice coming into the Niners organization as president because she also has a strong personality. Ms. Rice would want to work for an organization that is committed to winning and the 49ers currently do not show anybody that they have the will.

The 49ers ownership wants a yes person as head coach and president. This will be interesting watching Singletary trying to guide this San Francisco team out of the basement of the NFC West.

However, anything is possible in this weak division.


“Pride and Poise?” Don’t know where that has gone.

“Commitment to Excellence?” Right now this team is commitment to mediocrity.

“Just Win, Baby?” Yes, Al. But when?

These are the famous mottos of the Oakland Raiders. The Raider Nation is in tears and have been crying for the last 15 years. The Raiders are just a dysfunctional family and a dysfunctional team.

Majority owner Al Davis needs to step aside and let the coaches perform their duties. The firing of head coach Lane Kiffin last month proves that Davis wants total control of this team.

He still believes it’s 1980, when in reality it is 2008 and the Raiders are playing the game of 20 years ago.Today’s modern NFL defenses can shut down the Raider offense because they know how the Raider offensives work.

Many thought the Raiders would be on the winning track with last two first round picks — quarterback JaMarcus Russell and running back Darren McFadden. These two players would have improved any team in the NFL, but with Davis’ constant tampering, it stifles a head coach’s ability to run the team properly.

This atmosphere creates confusion on the offensive and defensive teams. It creates backbiting and the lack of loyalty among the Raider staff. The Black and Silver winning again?

“Can’t Do It!!”

This past Sunday, the Raiders were shutout by the Atlanta Falcons 24-0. The score does not tell the complete story. Okalnd had negative yardage at the end of the first half and a total of 77 offensive yards at the end of the game. The Raiders only had three first downs, total.

This is a disaster. Do you remember these names?

Lane Kiffin, Art Shell (twice), Norv Turner, Bill Callahan, Jon Gruden, Joe Bugel, Mike White, Mike Shanahan, and Tom Flores. From 1988 to 2008, Al Davis has fired all of these coaches.

Don’t buy a house Mr. Tom Cable, because before 2010 you will be leaving Oakland too. If you break this down, the Oakland Raiders have had a new coach every two years.

No NFL team can win with this continuous coaching carousel.


This past season, the Giant clubhouse was supposed to return to normal now that home run king Barry Bonds left the building. The Giant management really have to ask themselves what are they doing and what their goals are with this team.

What will be the future lineup of this team? Pitching, speed, defense, or power.

The Giants don’t know which direction they are heading in the post Bonds era. They currently have an odd mixture of older players going nowhere and younger players that are very inexperienced, thus creating an imbalanced team.

Old heads like Omar Vizquel, Rich Aurilia, Randy Winn and catcher Benji Molina were the anchor of the team. Manager Bruce Bochy at the end of the year inserted the kids to finish the season.

Starting pitcher Barry Zito was slated to be their superstar this year. It was a complete disaster. This year, he was a super bust starting the season 2-11 and ended the season 10-17 so the jury is out on this player.

Many believe that Zito was overrated and overpaid. He depended on his lollypop curveball too much and National League hitters loved it and started smacking the ball all over the park.

The only bright spot for the orange and black would be All-Star pitcher Tim Lincecum.

NEXT: The A’s, Warriors, and Sharks.