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John Madden on Singletary's sideline tactics: "That's not coaching"

Mike Singletary wanted to see how Alex Smith would respond to possibly being benched, so he tested Smith by yelling at him in front of the whole country.  Singletary liked Smith’s response, so he kept him in the game.

If you think that entire episode was a little silly, a Hall of Fame coach agrees with you.

“That’s
something that, a lot of things go on in a game that you’re not proud
of as a coach
,” Madden said on KCBS radio via the San Francisco Chronicle

“That’s really not part of coaching, that’s
sometimes I worry about that. I see youth football and I see high
school football and coaches yelling at players and I cringe when I see
it. I think people get the picture that’s what coaching is and believe
me, that’s not what coaching is.”

Singletary seems to have the motivational speeches down, but is he a teacher?  Can he give a player information that will help him win?

“You have to coach, you
have to teach, you have to strategize, you have to encourage,” Madden said.  “That’s
what coaching is, not the opposite.”

Madden said he doesn’t think Singletary should be fired during the season, but seemed to doubt the 49ers could make the playoffs.

“What was it, Bill Parcells’ quote . . . you are what your record says you are,” Madden said.

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62 Responses to “John Madden on Singletary's sideline tactics: "That's not coaching"”
  1. Chiefs2010 says: Oct 12, 2010 4:53 PM

    Singletary’s a clown, we all know this.
    and John Madden knows coaching, he was a good one.

  2. C-Word says: Oct 12, 2010 5:00 PM

    I can’t believe I’m saying this but this makes me nostalgic for Madden. Maybe he could take a page out of Bob Cole’s book. Bob Cole (play-by-play from Hockey Night in Canada) is now 77 and only calls a select few games per season. It would be nice to hear Madden do maybe one or two games a season. Then again he’s probably loving retirement.

  3. clangille says: Oct 12, 2010 5:05 PM

    I agree with Madden. Any coach can yell at a player when he makes a mistake and give a good motivational speech. Few can actually teach players. Singletary is not head coaching material. He’s already deferred the blame once by firing his offensive coordinator, now he’s starting to take it out on his QB. How about fixing your defense which was supposed to be the best in the league this year but is giving up over 20 points per game. You are 0-5 in arguably the worst division in football. It’s time to start taking some of the blame yourself.

  4. Sang says: Oct 12, 2010 5:09 PM

    Singletary is a Horrible coach, glad that someone is shedding some light on it. He makes himself look so stupid those dumbass post game rants. He is embarrassing the entire 49ers organization

  5. Chris says: Oct 12, 2010 5:11 PM

    well said John, well said
    he is abs right
    a lot of coaches who are GREAT coaches in all sports are “players” coaches and RARELY do you see them flip out like that…
    Billy Donovan, Coach K, Tony Dungy, Phil Jackson, Joe Torre, Andy Reid, etc…
    I love Singletary’s intensity and passion, and I think he will be a great coach if given more time, but there is a time and place
    the whole Alex Smith scene on Sunday night was just awkward just to watch as a viewer…imagine being Smith…!

  6. Citizen Strange says: Oct 12, 2010 5:17 PM

    I suppose Madden is just bitter that he never got any sexts from Favre …. or did he?

  7. HomoforRomo says: Oct 12, 2010 5:18 PM

    Someone dug Madden up and got a quote from him? Tell him to shut up and go back to shilling for a rental company that in these trying times charges poor people 500 dollars interest for a hundred dollar DVD player.
    But he’s right about Singletary.

  8. nowathand says: Oct 12, 2010 5:20 PM

    Ask yourself: which would Smith have preferred: an “encouraging” benching or allowing him to play after a tongue-lashing?

  9. der6495 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:25 PM

    There’s only so much you can do as a coach. You aren’t out on the field. If your QB runs around and loses the ball without being touched, how’s that your fault? Your player should be chewed out, Alex Smith is making a lot more money than Singletary is.
    Seemed like he needed a kick in the backside, and he responded well to it. This team is better than the record appears, the players on the field are beating themselves more than they’re being outcoached.

  10. lightsout says: Oct 12, 2010 5:27 PM

    Right before Singletary ripped him he made one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen a quarterback make (horrible fumble taken to the house). The fans were booing hime off the field. He deserved being embarrased after that play.
    I’m sure Singletary will be replaced after the season, but he’s still coaching dumb players. If the guy goes down after the pick last week they win. Still hope left for the niners. They should win next two (raiders and carolina), then the game against the broncos in London will make or breat their season.

  11. JSpicoli says: Oct 12, 2010 5:27 PM

    When Madden gets on your case you KNOW you have issues.

  12. RexR#1 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:30 PM

    Re: “you are what your record is”
    Alex Smith- EXACTLY!
    And Singletary tied himself to this failed #1 pick of his former management team just like Romeo Crennell tied himself to another loser Derek Anderson and will go out the same door because of his miscalculation of what Alex Smith ever will be and after so many years now of wishful thinking.
    Note: big deal Smith led them to 2 late scores he already messed up that game and still could have pulled it out and had enough time and ended the game on another poorly thrown interception. SHAUN HILL had far better success winning games with the 49ers.
    Clean house means no more Smith AND no more Singletary.

  13. Pervy xx says: Oct 12, 2010 5:32 PM

    yah….Madden calling games…the good old days…

  14. edgy1957 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:32 PM

    # C-Word says:
    Then again he’s probably loving retirement.
    ******************************
    Doing the games wasn’t the problem but the travel. He would probably do a game of the week if all he had to do was sit in a comfy chair in his PJs at home and just comment on what he sees on the screen and I had too choose between listening to him and those guys on MNF, I know where I’d go.

  15. Rodrigo says: Oct 12, 2010 5:33 PM

    I don’t think Singletary’s a clown, I think he’s a very passionate coach who makes mistakes. He made a mistake by yelling at Smith. I don’t remember very many successful coaches that did that kind of stuff.

  16. Testify says: Oct 12, 2010 5:33 PM

    spoken from a true coach

  17. buddha says: Oct 12, 2010 5:34 PM

    Yeah, its time for the San Francisco 0-5ers to chalk it up! Mathematically they’re still in it, but lets be realistic here. Singletary was a hell of a player, but his coaching style is just full of a bunch of sound bytes and sideline entertainment. I remember all that shit about “we want winners”. Practice what you preach Mike. If what Frisco wants is winners, then maybe you should step down before you get fired and put on the spot in front of the whole country. You know, kinda like what you did to Alex Smith and Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.

  18. FinFan68 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:35 PM

    The coach’s job is to help the player improve. Singletary’s tactic may not have been PC but it was absolutely effective. I do not care about a player’s feelings in the middle of a game. The coach should not have to make some ridiculous attempt to figure out the potential psychological impact of a sideline ass-chewing. In this case it worked, if that is all a person is capable of then that is not effective coaching. There is a time for each tactic and it is the coach’s job to figure out what technique will motivate the player. He did that in this case. Madden’s observations on this are no more relevant than Dungy’s comments about Rex Ryan’s vocabulary

  19. R8R_BOB says: Oct 12, 2010 5:40 PM

    I’m respect what Coach Madden gave the RAIDERS and i’m a Madden fan but this is the same John Madden that said that the Patriots should run out the clock and go into overtime in SB XXXVI.
    Had the WINERS came back and won that game everyone would be praising Coach Singletary on how he challenged his young quarterback on where his heart was. John Madden was good in his day but if he was coaching in this era he would have to “find new ways to motivate them” to win.

  20. BigBear123 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:46 PM

    What does Tony Dungy think?

  21. HereThere says: Oct 12, 2010 5:56 PM

    He’s a fool. The 49ers aren’t going to win the division. I hope they keep him forever though.

  22. philcommander says: Oct 12, 2010 6:01 PM

    If the 0-5 record is Singletarys fault then I suspect that his failure occurs Mon-Sat in coming up with an effective game plan and preparing the players along with his decisions during game time and not so much him losing his cool on a player. Smith is turning into a bust and Singletary did not draft him.

  23. j-wil says: Oct 12, 2010 6:15 PM

    Singletary coaches like he’s in the huddle playing………..what do you expect? A once proud franchise has got to get a real coach next year. This guy is a clown!

  24. Broadwayjoe2010 says: Oct 12, 2010 6:19 PM

    Madden’s good pal Parcells aka Tuna made a living brutalizing QB’s on the sidelines during games…ask Phil Simms

  25. SATAN says: Oct 12, 2010 6:20 PM

    Yep be nice if Collinsworth would take a bye week or two if JM is willing.

  26. bofarr says: Oct 12, 2010 6:25 PM

    I originally thought Singletary was a good hire for the Niners but the lack of strategic experience, the poor game management skills as well as some surprising displays of petulance and poor sportsmanship have definitely changed my mind. Besides not having the X’s and O’s background, he also seems to lack the focus to manage a full game as well. Unless Jed York’s wild fantasies come true and the Niners make an amazing run to get in the playoffs it’s probably sayanora Samurai Mike.

  27. prophet of the light says: Oct 12, 2010 6:34 PM

    I respect Madden’s opinion, but sometimes you have to check to see if a man has it inside himself to go out there and execute. I think that’s all Singletary wanted to see.

  28. pacificamike says: Oct 12, 2010 6:36 PM

    singletary is off his rocker

  29. JIM says: Oct 12, 2010 6:39 PM

    WHO CARES what JOHN MADDEN says….let people be who they are and if you dont like it..go to hell…thats what great about Rex Ryan…he is his own man and not a shill..screw everyone else…

  30. Ravensatron says: Oct 12, 2010 6:43 PM

    Shouting at some people helps them, for others it’s the worst thing you can do.
    Being the headcoach means that you need to know how to get the best out of everyone, by adapting how you approach different situations with different people.
    If Alex Smith needs an arm around him when he throws a pick, then that’s what you do. I don’t get the impression he is someone who responds well to being shouted at.

  31. Gotcha says: Oct 12, 2010 6:44 PM

    Parcells, Lombardi, Noll, Stram, Shula and Grant certainly would light a quarterback up on the sideline if he was playing like garbage. Threatening to remove one’s job/fire them is normally a very efficient motivation tool.
    Singletary is definitely out of his element as a HC though. His tenure in San Francisco will be short-lived.

  32. Tony says: Oct 12, 2010 6:50 PM

    What a bunch of Bull! Madden yelled at his players give me a break! The camera didn’t have the access they have now so suddenly he is a saint PLEASE!
    All it is is his chance for his 15 minutes of fame and to try and stay important to the game. Not what successful coaches do? Mike Ditka has a superbowl ring and he was no choir boy. When mike got to san fran they had no spine at all no toughness they had become a door mate. Mike is trying to turn a battle ship around in a bath tub. Our win now mentality and let’s be nice to everybody is killing the game. For all those who miss john calling the game you must have liked the pictures he damn sure couldn’t call a game unless you like hearing a man repeat himself over and over

  33. FireJerryJones says: Oct 12, 2010 6:56 PM

    Singletary doesn’t know how to coach. Hasn’t been a coordinator.
    He knows about motivation.
    Bill Parcells used to say that after four years, his message fell on deaf ears and he needed to move on.
    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  34. StevieMo says: Oct 12, 2010 7:03 PM

    I coached HS football for a few years as a volunteer assistant (DB/WR) a decade ago and the old, successful head coach told me: “If a player messes up on a play, you can take him out. If you take him out, don’t yell at him. The move speaks for itself. If you yell at him while he’s still on the field, that’s fine, but leave him in the game. Don’t do both.”
    I’ve watched hundreds of football games since then (HS, college and pro) and it’s remarkable how that rule of thumb pretty much holds true with virtually every experienced coach. A player blows it, he gets pulled from the game — an experienced coach says little or nothing to him. That type of coaching takes place during the week — not in the middle of the game. There are too many variables to keep track of; no time to yell at everybody who makes a mistake. Plus I greatly doubt screaming at a guy makes him more likely to do it right the next time.
    This is high school stuff, and Singletary is still learning the basics. He’s a total beginner, to put it mildly.

  35. Axlviking says: Oct 12, 2010 7:09 PM

    I REALLY wanted to like Mike Singletary as a head coach. Unfortunately, Madden is 100% correct.

  36. Easy Ed says: Oct 12, 2010 7:13 PM

    Madden is right. Coaching is essetially people management, just like in business. And in business, the worst thing a manager can do is call out an employee infront of others by screaming, yelling, whatever and is what you normally would see from a low-level supervisor who doesn’t know any different and not upper management, which is what an NFL head coach is. Doesn’t serve any purpose, just makes the coach/manager feel like he’s the big bad boss. Singletary is a first-class a-hole.

  37. MrONE50 says: Oct 12, 2010 7:15 PM

    New rule: If it seems as though someone is doing everything possible to make you lose your job, it’s OK to yell whatever you want at them. Even if it’s on TV.
    Mike Singletary is not the greatest coach in the game. But I know from watching from afar that he put his job on the line the day he handed Smith the starting QB spot. How does he repay him? By playing poorly.
    What do you people expect. Since when did two sides of the story become outlawed.

  38. ECS - Brougham Boys 74 says: Oct 12, 2010 7:16 PM

    It doesn’t matter that the NFC West is a crappy division. The 49ers are worse. As long as Singletary is the coach, that team has ZERO chance at the playoffs. Even the Rams are playing with more heart and more discipline.
    The truly sad thing is that over the last decade, each team in the NFC West has had their window, while all the other teams wallow in rebuild mode. The 49ers made the mistake to hire Singletary, and they missed that window (which would have been this season and next). By the time they get it turned around, Sam Bradford will be playing like Peyton, and the Seahawks will have rebuilt via the draft.
    Singletary set this franchise back at least 5 seasons.

  39. JSpicoli says: Oct 12, 2010 7:17 PM

    The best Niner QB out there is playing, and winning, for the Lions.
    Great job Jed and Co. You come from the Penthouse, but make 10 cent decisions.

  40. Gotcha says: Oct 12, 2010 7:18 PM

    Have to agree with Tony.

  41. Easy Ed says: Oct 12, 2010 7:18 PM

    “The coach should not have to make some ridiculous attempt to figure out the potential psychological impact of a sideline ass-chewing.”
    Its’ not about the potential psychological impact, it just shows loss of control over his players like any boss who loses it in front of others.

  42. whytheCardinals says: Oct 12, 2010 7:33 PM

    Somewhere I read that great players make wrotten coaches…. They believe ALL players MUST have the same intensisty and heart they had as players…. and if a player doesn’t, than the coach reverts back to the same fire that made them Great players… these aren’t 1980′s players. Most of them never saw Singletary play…. In fact, they are “special” and wither under fire… and even if Smityh is fine, his teammates are joking… (see Michael Irwins’ comments)

  43. NoKoolaidCowboy says: Oct 12, 2010 7:45 PM

    Yeah, yelling never solves anything. Just ask Coach Wade Phillips.
    …or former Coach Jimmy Johnson.

  44. joetoronto says: Oct 12, 2010 7:45 PM

    Tony: Madden never yelled at his players, he coached them.
    God knows he yelled allot, but when he did, he was defending his players.

  45. dennis112484 says: Oct 12, 2010 7:46 PM

    mike singletary may be the dumbest person in america. oh wait, 60,000 people were chanting for david carr. so maybe he’s just 60,001.

  46. pga5 says: Oct 12, 2010 7:49 PM

    Wade Phillips for niners head coach. You won’t have to worry about him yelling at players. Sounds good, huh?
    This Madden take is pretty weak. Like someone else said, he yelled at his players. The niners were soft as a baby’s bottom, and Singletary is trying to change that culture.
    You’d be yelling at players too, if your job was on the line and they kept making stupid mistakes. If a player can’t handle a coach yelling at him, how’s he going to survive with 300 lb linemen chasing him?

  47. froggy says: Oct 12, 2010 8:03 PM

    Bart Starr was a great player and a terrible coach.
    Ted Williams was a great player and a terrible manager.
    You get the picture . . .

  48. raiderkeith says: Oct 12, 2010 8:09 PM

    Read an excerpt from a book about Chuck Noll and the Steelers. One of the players said in the first season with Noll, when they won one game they only got yelled at after the win. All the other film sessions were teaching moments. Maybe Mike should listen to a proven winner and leave the histrionics out.

  49. Johnny Utah says: Oct 12, 2010 8:25 PM

    I always liked Singletary as a player, but the guy does not seem like head coach material and is making a fool of himself in the process.
    So far Singletary has (1) dropped his pants to motivate the team, (2) argued with his QB on the sideline in a nationally televised game, (3) run his OC hours after saying the guy’s job was safe, (4) called timeouts in the last minute of the KC game down four touchdowns (and luckily avoided a more serious injury to Josh Morgan on a worthless TD score), (5) “forgot” to give a post-game handshake to Mike Smith after the loss to Atlanta, and (6) pulled the next question card in a local TV interview show which resulted in the host getting clipped from that gig.
    The scary thing is that the division is so awful that the 49ers are by no means out of the race – and Smith may just make enough decent plays that the delusional front office may decide to give him another year to see if it works out.

  50. superb owl says: Oct 12, 2010 8:53 PM

    normally i do agree with madden and increasingly it looks like singletary is in way over his head.
    but it worked. smith played lights out after that. i like to treat everyone equally too. but it just doesnt work on everyone.
    if the player is being an ass, disobedient, or underachieving massively… well patting him on the ass with other than a 2*4 is counterproductive.
    now, iron mike, go yell at the OL, wideouts and defense.

  51. Al Davis' 40 Time says: Oct 12, 2010 8:57 PM

    Mike Singletary is a coach that yells his coaching to his players about his coaching… BOOM! TOUGH ACTIN TINACTIN!

  52. Deb says: Oct 12, 2010 9:12 PM

    @Johnny Utah …
    That’s sums it up for me. Loved Singletary the player, but the more I see of Singletary the coach, the more it seems like two different guys.

  53. TheSleepness says: Oct 12, 2010 9:26 PM

    the game misses John Madden

  54. Blackn'Gold says: Oct 12, 2010 9:30 PM

    Alex Smith has gotten several coaches fired. When is the owner going to wise up? If Mr. Singletary wanted to take a chance then it should be with Troy Smith, the third string quarterback.
    The guy is better than his NFL record suggests. If I remember he did win the Heisman and the Ohio State won the college championship. I would think that should count for something.
    GO STEELERS!

  55. muchmaligned says: Oct 12, 2010 9:30 PM

    I assume Madden is still under contract with NBC… I wonder?
    You jackasses calling Singletary “dumb” and a “clown” are the absolute worst kind of fans. Sissies abound among football fans, I’m guessing watching the games is a form of homo-erotica for you. To each his own.
    Madden yelled at his players on the sidelines. Many of the absolute greats have done so. Singletary is not among them. He may not be ready to HC, but calling that guy, considering the contribution he has made to the game, a clown is just bad form.

  56. ToddyTouchdown says: Oct 12, 2010 9:53 PM

    John Madden pointing out the obvious? I feel like ive seen this somewhere…

  57. RexR#1 says: Oct 12, 2010 11:20 PM

    dennis112484
    mike singletary may be the dumbest person in america. oh wait, 60,000 people were chanting for david carr. so maybe he’s just 60,001.

    No, that just tells you how bad a QB Alex Smith must be – afterall those fans have now watched him for many years and are sick and tired of watching one GM or coach keep trying with this obvious loser.

  58. ian322 says: Oct 12, 2010 11:47 PM

    He didn’t shake Mike Smith’s hand after the Atlanta game??? He said he forgot??? Bull. He’s been a coach for two years now. You don’t forget something that basic.
    I won’t call him a clown or dumb, but this experiment is clearly a failure at this point.

  59. LowVoltage says: Oct 12, 2010 11:58 PM

    PhinPhan: If Henne was Singletary’s QB, he would have benched him in that Pats game.

  60. -Slap- says: Oct 13, 2010 8:36 AM

    Madden was Al Davis’ puppet. His announcing style was only beneficial to people who knew nothing about football. The greatest thing was when the gave him the telestrator. There was something so appopriate about John Madden scrawling on the screen with a crayon. Usually to measure the sweat stains on Kevin Gogan’s ass or something else educational. Good riddance from the sidelines and the booth, fat man.

  61. NinerDynasty says: Oct 13, 2010 2:21 PM

    Here’s the thing.. you can bring a new coach year after year and after year.. as long Alex Smith is the starting QB in that team.. that new coach will get fired every year..
    Alex Smith is a Coach Killer period!!! Is sing is replaced at the end of year, the first thing the new coach needs to do is go and get a new proven QB! simple as that! once that happens, everything should align for this team

  62. funkylovemonkey says: Oct 13, 2010 6:52 PM

    I’m sure Smith barely heard Singletary screaming at him as he came off the field. I attribute Smith’s determination having a lot more to do with the fact that the crowd was chanting “We want Carr” and he had just made one of the stupidest mistakes of his football career (which is saying something, considering) and was being benched. The fact that he responded by leading his team to two touchdowns in two fairly impressive drives says something about him. I still think he really shouldn’t be anything but a backup, but I think it’s ridiculous to blame him for 0-5.
    Singletary (and I was excited when he became head coach) has shown himself over and over again to just lack any coaching instincts at all. He doesn’t know how to deal with players, he doesn’t know how to organize his coaching staff. He’s great with McNugget inspiration, but he seems lost and out of his depth on the sideline. Stupid mistakes over and over again from running a two minute drill with four minutes left on the clock to an offense which was so telegraphed opposing defenses knew exactly what was coming show a fundamental problem that starts at the very top.
    The team overall lacks discipline. The niners have huge problems beyond Alex Smith, he’s just the most obvious target. The offensive line has absolutely been manhandled every game they’ve played. A good portion of Gore’s inability to break 4 yards per carry and Smith’s fumbles/hurried decisions can all be traced to bad offensive line play. The team ranks 20th in total defense.
    And anyone thinking the 9ers would be better off with Shaun Hill are delusional. He has exactly one win more then Alex Smith and the 9ers, and that win was against the 2-3 Rams.

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