Ed Driscoll



A year ago, Mariucci was tempted by the money and power of having the dual roles in Tampa. He would have been a $4 million major player in this league, but in the end, he turned it down because his family wanted to remain in the Bay area. The Bucs bit the bullet and traded two first-round choices, two second-rounders and $8 million to Oakland for Jon Gruden.

The flirtation with the Bucs’ job hurt Mariucci organizationally. His fine coaching job this season put him back in a position for York to make an offer about an extension. But one thing wasn’t going to happen. York wasn’t going to allow Mariucci to do anything more than just coach.

It’s not that Mariucci is wrong. The timing was bad. For the first couple years of this decade, NFL owners were handing out duel titles and big coaching contracts like candy at Christmas. Nearly half of the teams had head coaches in full charge of the football operations.

Things are changing this year. Mike Holmgren lost his general manager duties in Seattle, but kept his salary and status as coach. Tom Coughlin was let go as the single person in charge of the Jaguars. Bill Parcells had to take a job as coach only for Jerry Jones in Dallas.

The reality of things is that as much as Mariucci is the perfect coach for one of the youngest starting lineups in football, it probably was time for him to move. Had he accepted an extension for $3 million a year, that wouldn’t have changed the feeling that he was an outsider in the organization. The person who hired him is still in Cleveland.

Should he go to Jacksonville, Mariucci might get more money than in San Francisco. He might get a little more power, although owner Wayne Weaver wants a sharing of the power between a coach and a personnel director.

As for the 49ers, they can go a number of different directions. Dennis Green is a perfect candidate as long as he casts aside his desires to run the front office, too. Looking internally, the team could go for Jim Mora Jr., the team’s bright young defensive coordinator.