John Madden doesn't like Mike Singletary's style

Like everyone else, John Madden saw San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary lay into quarterback Alex Smith on Sunday night. Madden, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Raiders, told KCBS in San Francisco that what Singletary was doing wasn't coaching.

“That’s something that, a lot of things go on in a game that you’re not proud of as a coach,” Madden said. “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.

“I don’t know if you have to yell at players. Now, someone’s going to say, 'You yelled like heck,' but I wasn’t yelling at players, I was yelling at officials. That’s not what it is. You have to coach, you have to teach, you have to strategize, you have to encourage. That’s what coaching is, not the opposite.”

I'd tend to agree. Granted, I'm as qualified to coach an NFL quarterback as Gary Busey is to be someone's AA sponsor, but coaching is teaching and teaching is universal.

Singletary isn't the first head coach to scream at a player, of course. The "yell at a guy until he feels like a scolded little boy" method has been used by coaches in all sports; some of them quite successful: Mike Ditka, Bob Knight, Bob Huggins ... even Vince Lombardi would scream at a guy.

But a lot of milder-mannered coaches who treat their players like adults have had success, too. Dick Vermeil, Tony Dungy, Joe Gibbs(notes), etc. You can make impressive lists on both sides.

Mike Singletary, though, is a long way away from making any list of impressive coaches. If the 49ers are a good team, as he claims they are, then being 0-5 doesn't reflect well on him. It might not be a bad idea to take advice from a guy like Madden, who's seen it all, done it all, and won it all.


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