Mike Singletary has cited dealing with reporters as the toughest part of his transition from assistant to head coach.
The patience and restraint he showed Monday marked progress for him, I thought.
The 49ers' defeat in Seattle was a crushing one. Singletary said he's frustrated, but he did not let that frustration steer him off course Monday.
This was particularly evident in the way he raised concerns about officiating without appearing to whine about tough calls.
A reporter asked Singletary if the 49ers would be sending a list of sketchy calls to the league for review.
Singletary pointed out how teams file such reports every week.
A reporter asked if there was any one call that upset him the most.
"There are many -- many," Singletary replied.
This was where Singletary passed a test. An overly emotional coach would use that first statement as a springboard into more colorful comments that he might come to regret. Singletary did not let that happen.
"Let me say this before I go too far down this road," he said. "Obviously, there were bad calls made and I think in every game there are bad calls made. Yesterday, for me there were just a few more than I had witnessed maybe since I've been in the league and I think I just want to make sure that our players, coaching staff, our fans, everybody involved with the 49ers , everyone that cares about he 49ers to understand this is not about the referees. They did not fumble ... they did not make bad plays. We did. I don't want to put this on the referees."
The 49ers' concerns included how referee Al Riveron's crew handled substitutions. Singletary felt as though officials were not giving the 49ers enough time to change their defensive personnel to match Seattle's offensive substitutions.
This debate is not specific to Singletary or the 49ers.
Mike Holmgren once complained that former referee Larry Nemmers gave the Cardinals' defense too much time to adjust, affecting offensive tempo. Offensive coaches want less governance on this subject. Defensive coaches want more.