Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says Mike Martz and Mike Singletary clashed several times late in the season. You wouldn't know it from the politely worded statements each man released after Martz's firing.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Martz and 49ers president Jed York provided conflicting accounts of Martz's hiring in San Francisco. Martz expressed surprise at his firing. Background: After last season, general manager Scot McCloughan went on the record as saying Martz would not be a good fit for the job, only to have head coach Mike Nolan hire Martz anyway. Even if York didn't say anything directly to Martz, as Martz suggests, everyone knew where management stood on the matter.
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' decision to rush into an agreement with Singletary shows the weakness of the team's current management. Signing Singletary so quickly meant the 49ers couldn't consider Mike Shanahan, an obviously superior candidate with roots in the 49ers' tradition. I'm not sure the 49ers could have landed Shanahan, but now they'll never know.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the Martz firing came down to a simple philosophical difference. Singletary wants to run the ball. Martz would prefer to throw it. Singletary was smart in making this decision now instead of a year from now, but hiring a seventh coordinator in seven seasons continues a regrettable pattern for the 49ers.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News lists former Rams coach Scott Linehan as a potential candidate to replace Martz. Under Linehan, Rams running back Steven Jackson once finished a season with 346 carries, most in franchise history since Eric Dickerson's tenure. I have not confirmed Linehan as a candidate yet, but hiring him would make sense.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals cornerback Rod Hood feels "due" to start making plays instead of allowing them. The Seahawks' Deion Branch was the most recent receiver to exploit Hood.
Also from Somers: Anquan Boldin's shoulder injury appears to be history.
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' defense can't be trusted. Coordinator Clancy Pendergast says the defense was fine until the Minnesota game.
Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have experienced a 15 percent increase in retail sales at the stadium, its Tempe headquarters and on its Web site this season.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the playoffs are making 37-year-old quarterback Kurt Warner feel a little younger.
Art Thiel of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says outgoing Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren remains a candidate to run an organization. And he says the Seahawks might be wise to let him run theirs at some point in the future.
Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer provides highlights from Holmgren's hour-long media session Tuesday. Holmgren was at peace with his decision to step away: "As we were losing games, I'd think, 'Oh man, I wish I had another shot at fixing this and righting the ship.' But I've thought long and hard now about the decision in a calm, less emotional way. And it was absolutely the right decision. That's why I script the first 15 plays, so I'm not out there at the beginning of the game all gaga."
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes Holmgren on expectations for the 2009 season. Holmgren predicted fewer injuries and a better record.
Also from Farnsworth: a look into the Seahawks' free-agent future, starting with Leroy Hill.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Holmgren gets to leave the Seahawks on his own terms, a contrast from coaches in other organizations, including Shanahan in Denver.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks and the NFL were better off for Holmgren's decision to forego a career in real estate.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune looks at Holmgren's style in handling reporters, backed by examples and anecdotes from through the years.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune provides highlights from Holmgren's farewell news conference, noting that the ex-coach does not plan to serve as TV analyst during the playoffs.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines the Rams' process for finding a new head coach. Former St. Louis players Dan Dierdorf and Marshall Faulk will serve as consultants. Bobby Beathard and Lawrence McCutcheon will take active roles in the process. Winston Moss gets the first interview. Jim Haslett will be a finalist.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams general manager Billy Devaney appears to have a good plan for finding the next head coach, a departure from form for the Rams.
Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com also likes the Rams' plan.
Final Miami 10 Buffalo 29 Final Jacksonville 10 Washington 41 Final Dallas 26 Tennessee 10 Final Arizona 25 New York 14 Final New England 30 Minnesota 7 Final New Orleans 24 Cleveland 26 Final Atlanta 10 Cincinnati 24 Final Detroit 7 Carolina 24 Final St. Louis 19 Tampa Bay 17 Final Seattle 21 San Diego 30 Final Houston 30 Oakland 14 Final New York 24 Green Bay 31 Final Kansas City 17 Denver 24 Final Chicago 28 San Francisco 20