49ers Clubhouse 

Rooting For 49ers..... And Mooch

January 02, 2003

by James Parrott
Clubhouse Staff Writer

As the 49ers head into the 2002-03 NFL playoffs, the question of head coach Steve Mariucciís job security has risen again.

Those in the know say that for the man they call Mooch to keep his job beyond this season, his team needs to win at least the Wild Card game at home to the New York Football Giants.

This writer will admit to having been critical of Mariucciís track record in big games and the way that his offense has spluttered along this season, but he is undoubtedly paying the price for not yet having won THE Big One.

49ers have been spoiled by all the years of Joe Montana, Roger Craig, Jerry Rice, Tom Rathman, John Taylor, Brent Jones, Steve Young and Ricky Watters. Spoiled by years of Bill Walsh, Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan calling the offensive shots.

The loss to St Louis this past Monday night was troubling given how the 49ers turned a sure victory in a meaningless game and allowed the game to snowball out of their control until they had turned a 20-3 fourth quarter lead into a 31-20 defeat to a 6-9 team minus itís top two quarterbacks.

Losses like this have become a specialty to the team, just as the offense becoming mired in the depths of mediocrity each week has become routine.

But consider this - who else is there?

Bill Walsh is in his 70ís.

Terry Donahue is the teams General Manager, overseeing too much to allow him to take on the coaching duties.

Dennis Green is tainted by his postseason record, his ability to create turmoil from nowhere and his final season in Minnesota.

Greg Knapp hasnít exactly coached a potent unit this year.

Jim Mora has no head coaching experience.

Mariucci needs to find a way of reversing the ultra-obvious tendencies that his offense has developed recently, thus scoring big to win both the games and the style points that 49er fans demand.

And he needs to take his team past the point it reached last season.

But he has done more than enough to merit the backing of everyone, be it club ownership, official or supporter.

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