No coach is going to save the San Francisco 49ers

Chip Kelly was unceremoniously fired by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, following the team's loss to the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks in a close game.

Kelly followed 49ers GM Trent Baalke, who'd been fired earlier in the day and reportedly was escorted from team headquarters.

It's a complete reset for the team, which will look to start fresh and get back to the winning ways it found under coach Jim Harbaugh from 2011-14.

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But it's also an unnecessary and stupid move letting go of Kelly, who did the most he could with what he had. I'm not sure Kelly is the genius many people wanted him to be, but he's a decent-to-good football coach, and no coach on earth was going to win in the NFL with the roster the 49ers put out there this season.

By changing coaches for the third straight offseason, the 49ers are trying to start over. But who, exactly, do they think they're going to find out there?

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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gave a really interesting interview recently when talking about the "coach as savior" idea that exists in professional sports. Responding to some criticism from Steelers great Terry Bradshaw, Tomlin pointed out that there are very few coaches who have achieved greatness in any sport.


"...Very few coaches' résumés read as [great] at this point. Guys like Bill [Belichick] in New England probably can say that, Pop [Gregg Popovich] down in San Antonio. I think the rest of us are just working stiffs to be quite honest with you."

Tomlin is right. Genius is almost impossible to find. There are very few coaches at any level, in any sport, who can continue to dominate year after year, no matter what. (And you could make the argument that guys like Belichick and Popovich have been exceedingly lucky with the players they've gotten to coach. I know they'd be the first to admit that.)

For most pro sports franchises, teams are merely looking for "solid." Guys who will win when they're given a competitive roster. Chip Kelly's failures in Philadelphia had everything to do with his poor job in charge of personnel -- when it came to coaching, he was great. In his first two years in Philly he took good teams and he won with them, notching consecutive 10-win seasons. It was when he was put in charge of personnel in 2015 that everything fell apart. But I do believe that, given a talented team and a little time, Kelly can still be an effective coach in this league. And for most NFL teams, that's all you can really hope for.

This is especially true for the 49ers, who had a borderline genius/possible madman in Jim Harbaugh but pushed him out because he reportedly wasn't willing to play nice with the other people in the organization. The team decided it didn't want to deal with someone like Harbaugh but apparently isn't willing to accept adequacy either. So it will hit the reset button, putting in another new system for these inexperienced players to learn, still striving for that perfect coach who wins a lot more than he should but also fits nicely in with the people already there and defers to the ownership group. (Because, you know, there are so many of those coaches available.)

It's all unfair to Kelly. This year, with this 49ers roster, the ghost of Vince Lombardi wasn't going to win games. In some alternate universe where Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells made their peace and joined forces with the goal of saving the organization? I still think this team misses the playoffs. There's only so much you can do when a team doesn't have the talent.

If the 49ers felt that Kelly was loyal to Baalke and they thought the situation was untenable, fine. But if this is about "starting fresh," at a certain point the 49ers need to realize you can't just do that every season. Greatness is achieved by building a system and finding the players who fit in. Constantly searching for some savior genius isn't going to do that. There aren't that many who exist.