Jim Harbaugh had great success as the Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers. His final season in 2014 resulted in questions as well as rumored disagreement with upper level management. 49er fans feared that when Harbaugh decided to take the Head Coaching job at Michigan, management would hire someone who would alter the overall concept of their team. Wednesday they announced that Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula will lead the team in 2015. Tomsula, who is 46 years old, confirms that San Francisco will rely on ‘home cooking’ to get them back to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 50; ( the Roman numeral has been removed for this game), will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home of the 49ers. Tomsula has been with San Francisco since 2007, and is well-respected by both his team and the league. Optimism is abundant.
Fans who are ‘die-hard’ for the 49ers placed much of the reason for an ineffective offense in 2014 on the back of Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. He is now a member of the Buffalo Bills organization.
This move by the 49ers is twofold; they want to ensure that the defensive intensity is maintained, and that no significant changes in the offense is eminent.
Upper management is aware that personnel is not a problem; lack of decisive coaching likely cost them a chance to contend for Super Bowl XLIX.
San Francisco finished with a record of eight wins and eight losses in 2014. Results of the last three seasons emphasized the fact that this season was a failure for the organization. They were defeated by Chicago and Arizona in weeks two and three after soundly defeating Dallas at home in their opening game. Throughout the remainder of the season they failed to defeat Seattle and had dubious losses to San Diego and Oakland. The defense was fairly successful, but the offense was on the sidelines, unable to score, and forcing defensive players to accomplish more than necessary.
Offensive tackle Joe Staley made a statement about the team which may be very significant. He indicated that the team does not need a complete overhaul. The problems are internal, and San Francisco has sufficient talent to obtain their objectives.
Some ‘experts’ in the NFL suggest that losses of assistant coaches as the result of Harbaugh’s vacancy will be detrimental to future success for the 49ers. It is likely to be just the opposite.
Vic Fangio was the Defensive Coordinator for the 49ers since 2011; after he was passed over for the Head Coaching job, he is likely to request an unrestricted release. Fangio has 28 years of experience, but may be considered as a member of the ‘past’ in the NFL.
Offensive Coordinator Roman failed to find ways to increase the 49ers point total in 2014, especially in the second half.
Tomsula has the support of many current 49er players. Defensive Tackle Justin Smith has indicated that he may return for a 15th season now that Tomsula has been selected as the successor to Harbaugh.
The impression is that professional sports is entirely about the money and less about the team and its desire to be victorious. For the NFL players that is far from the truth. The most successful franchises in professional football have included players and coaches who have achieved a single minded goal. Maybe San Francisco has found that combination.
By James Turnage