The San Francisco 49ers hired Mike Singletary as head coach for the intensity they felt he would bring to the team.
"I think we are getting out-intensitied," team president Jed York explained at the time. "I don't think that's a word, but I'm going to use it anyway. That's what we need, and that's what Mike Singletary is going to bring."
Singletary is bringing intensity, all right. He just doesn't always know how to channel it. He became upset Thursday night when Dennis O'Donnell, a reporter for the CBS television affiliate in San Francisco, asked Singletary about the Yahoo! report detailing in-game communication issues experienced during a 31-6 defeat at Seattle in Week 1. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye has taken criticism for failing to relay plays quickly enough. It's a sensitive subject for the 49ers, and understandably so, but not something that should derail the man whose role makes him the face of the organization.
O'Donnell does 49ers play-by-play. The team is contractually obligated to make available Singletary to the CBS affiliate for a weekly preview show. O'Donnell wasn't all that interested in looking forward to the 49ers' game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Singletary, who had already discussed the communication issues at a news conference earlier Thursday, was in no mood to revisit the subject, leading to some tense, uncomfortable moments when O'Donnell asked about the situation anyway.
The CBS station has apparently removed the Singletary video from its website, but I watched it and transcribed the interview in full. Singletary repeatedly interrupts O'Donnell and even vows to shut down Drew Brees during the 49ers' game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
Here's hoping a camera is there to capture the next meeting between O'Donnell and Singletary.
O’Donnell: Coach, I’ve met Jimmy Raye on several occasions. I’ve been in meetings with him -- you know that -- in the preseason. I have attended a function with your coaches described how their offense runs. And each time I meet him, I come away with the impression that this guy has a real handle on what he is doing. He wouldn’t be in the NFL this long if he did not. Then comes the game, then comes the Yahoo! article. What’s the truth?
Singletary: What’s the truth?
Singletary: You know, Jimmy has been in the league for 33 years. He has been a coordinator for longer than you have been doing this. How does the guy be a coordinator and be successful all those years and not be good at what he does? I mean, that doesn’t even make sense to me -- the question. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it doesn’t make any sense, the question that you are asking.
O’Donnell: Well, I’m basing it on what was said in the Yahoo! article.
Singletary: But don’t base a man’s entire career on a dad-gum 'Yahoo!' commercial.
O’Donnell: That is the point I am trying to make because --
Singletary: The point I’m trying to make is I don’t even want to talk about the 'Yahoo!' deal. It really pisses me off now that I sit here and think about it. We just talked today and I had a press conference today. I don’t want to talk about the 'Yahoo!' thing any more. Whoever said it, I don’t care who said it, it’s over, it’s done, I want to move forward.
O’Donnell: OK, so there is no truth to it, in your opinion?
Singletary: I want to move forward.
O’Donnell: OK. Let’s talk about then Alex moving forward into the game Monday night. In situations where maybe he is not getting a play by a certain amount of time, and he can –
Singletary: Alex will be fine Monday night. Watch the game and you will see that Alex will be fine. I don’t want to talk about time, I don’t want to talk about clock, I don’t want to talk about any of that. I want to talk about New Orleans if you want to talk about that.
O’Donnell: But I’m alluding to –
Singletary: I want to talk about New Orleans if you want to talk about that.
O’Donnell: OK, let’s talk about trying to stop Drew Brees.
Singletary: We will not try to stop Drew Brees. We will stop Drew Brees. Next question.
O’Donnell: OK. How about trying to move the ball against the New Orleans defense.
Singletary: We will not try to move the ball against New Orleans’ defense. We will move the ball and we will score.
O’Donnell: Coach, obviously there is a sense of frustration that has built up over –
Singletary: No, there’s no sense of frustration. I’m just being honest. I had a conversation about this earlier today and I came in here ready to talk about New Orleans and we get all on this other -- I’m just tired of talking about that.
O’Donnell: I understand.
Singletary: I’m ready to go.
O’Donnell: Listen, Mike, I know that this hasn’t been an easy week, I know these are questions you don’t want to talk about –
Singletary: But I want you to understand something. This is not about me really being frustrated and wow. I’m just done with that. If you had any idea, today, to me, that brought closure, this morning, when we had the press conference here -- too bad you weren’t here -- but I’m done. After that, I said I’m done with that. I want to talk about New Orleans. We’ve got a game that is four days away and we’re trying to get ready for that. I don’t want to spend another dad-gum minute talking about 'Yahoo!' or anybody else.
O’Donnell: You know, Jimmy Raye actually had the best line. He goes, maybe this 'Yahoo!' ought to run the offense.
Singletary: That would be real scary.