Owner, fire thyself | VailDaily.com

Owner, fire thyself

Where have you gone Eddie DeBartolo? The City by the Bay turns its lonely eyes to you.The San Francisco 49ers fired head coach Dennis Erickson Wednesday in the biggest boneheaded move since, well, Niners former owner Eddie D axed George Seifert.OK, so not all was idyllic under the DeBartolo reign in San Francisco, but it highlights the complete ineptitude of the team’s current owner, John York.Owner, fire thyself. Sure, Erickson is not the brightest apple in the bag when it comes to NFL coaching, but the responsibility for the decline of Niner Nation rests solely in management’s hands.York canned Steve Mariucci after Mooch successfully returned the 49ers to regular playoff contenders, weathering the retirement of Steve Young and the departure of Jerry Rice.In 2003, under Erickson, San Francisco went 7-9, but were a hair’s breath away from the playoffs with six losses by three points or less. But after promising to keep this bunch together, York and GM Terry Donahue jettisoned just about everybody with talent.Yes, Terrell Owens was gone no matter what. But when you start tossing away solid players like Jeff Garcia and Garrison Hearst and replace them with Tim Rattay (the master of the fourth-quarter turnover), Ken Dorsey (who wishes he’s still in college in Miami) and Kevan Barlow (who can’t run worth a lick), it isn’t the coach’s fault.As Gertrude Stein said about Oakland, “There is no there there.” The same could be said for the west end of the Bay Bridge. The 49ers, but for the grace of two 31-28 overtime wins over Arizona, could well have gone 0-16 in 2004. San Francisco should be relegated to the Pac-10 after this year. At least the Niners would get to play two Arizona teams each year.The 49ers had $29 million of dead cap money and the lowest payroll in the NFL. You can’t fire the players or the owner, so Erickson went. It’s a sad day for a proud franchise.By the way, note to USC’s Matt Leinart. Stay in school. You don’t want any part of the 49ers right now.Onto teams which are significantly better than the 49ers, the picks for the wild-card round:– Minnesota at Green Bay – That Minnesota is in the playoffs is a commentary of how bad the NFC is. When you talk about coaches who really should be fired, look up Mike Tice. Minnesota’s late season slide will last just one more game at Lambeau. Green Bay wins easy and is my sleeper pick for the NFC with T.O. injured up in Philly.– St. Louis at Seattle – Does it really matter who wins this game? Answer: No. St. Louis wins it to become cannon fodder for Philly in the divisional round. Continuing the motif of sending coaches packing, Mike Martz to the white courtesy phone. You have Marshall Faulk. Use him for cripes sake.– New York Jets at San Diego – Great season for the San Diego Super Chargers. But, Marty Schottenheimer turns into a pumpkin when it comes to the playoffs. Curtis Martin and the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets get the nod here.– Denver at Indianapolis – Congratulations to the Broncos for making the playoffs. Enjoy your brief stay. Peyton Manning is going to filet the Donkeys at Peyton’s Place. No. 18 is rested after taking three snaps in Denver last week. This isn’t going to be pretty.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail Colorado

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