Orlando Sentinel

Coach should leave to open 49ers' eyes
January 08, 2003
David Whitley, Orlando Sentinel

They are blinded by the light around here, and it's easy to see why. The first thing to hit you at 49ers headquarters is the glare from five silver footballs -- Super Bowl trophies.

It's up to Steve Mariucci to make it six. Or else.

Success long ago went from the 49ers' trophy case to their heads. That has turned Mariucci into the man who cannot win. Even though he does.

It became pretty obvious against the New York Giants that Mariucci can motivate a team. That doesn't mean the 49ers will storm through Tampa Bay on Sunday. It does mean if Mariucci's bosses really want him out, they must root against themselves. The strange tale could have a perfect ending, though.

The 49ers win the Super Bowl. The 49ers realize what they have. Mr. Nice Guy tells them where they can stick their shiny new football.

It's not in the trophy case.

Adrian Wojnarowski, the Record (Bergen County, N.J.): Bring this supposition to Rod Woodson's corner stall and watch his eyebrows arch, his mouth curl into a sarcastic smirk. He's forever waiting on the ``window of opportunity'' question, the common belief that the ultimate urgency to reach Super Bowl salvation belongs within these walls.

``Because of the old guys, right?'' Woodson says, laughing.

If this isn't the Raiders' last chance, it's their best chance. The New York Jets aren't just destined for the most vile venue in sports Sunday, the Black Hole, but also the clutches of the NFL's most determined desperados.

Tell us what you think on the new 49ers Clubhouse message board.