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Farewell, Jim Tomsula, the NFL’s Uncle Buck

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Jim Tomsula tried his damnedest, but it just wasn't good enough for the 49ers.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

If you attended public school in the United States for an appreciable amount of time, you likely had a teacher who was not the original plan. This might have been a substitute unexpectedly bumped up to full-time status, or someone who got talked into un-retiring, or a teacher in one subject area roped into teaching a class in a completely different one as well. There are many different possible reasons why you had this teacher instead of whoever was supposed to be leading your class; maybe the original teacher found a better job right before the year began or got busted smoking weed with students on a summer abroad trip.

Hopefully, your new teacher tried their best despite the challenging circumstances that came with the job, like not knowing the subject matter or having any prepared materials before the year starts. Maybe the new teacher did so well they transitioned into that role long-term.

Jim Tomsula was that teacher this year for the 49ers. He did not get the job of head coach because he was the most qualified candidate. Tomsula just knew the students, was on the payroll, and had keys to the computer lab. And, hey, he'd taught in Germany a while back! That had to count for something.

And I really believe Jim Tomsula tried his damnedest at the job. He came into the year with a roster missing lots of recent talent, lost his top two running backs to injury, and watched his starting quarterback turn in the worst numbers of his career before he benched him for ... Blaine Gabbert, though that move worked out better than I would have predicted. Despite his best efforts, San Francisco finished 5-11 and was basically out of the postseason hunt by the end of October.

He didn't dress the part all that well (though that didn't help Mike Nolan), he didn't have an established name to trade on (though that didn't help Mike Singletary), and he didn't win anything of consequence (though that didn't help Jim Harbaugh). Given the aforementioned roster issues and a very challenging schedule, can it really be that Tomsula got fired because he didn't meet some irrational standard of success? Was he really expected to take this San Francisco team back to the playoffs in his first year?

Jed York's megalomania might be so great that the answer is yes, but at the end of Jim Tomsula's tenure, the stadium's still standing, the Niners don't have the worst record in the league, and some of the players experienced positive development. You were their Uncle Buck, Jim Tomsula. Hell, you even had your giant pancake moment.

But even though Uncle Buck proves he's not a slovenly, incompetent danger to others as everyone fears, that doesn't change the end of the movie. He doesn't move into his brother's house. He's not asked to stay with the kids for another week. He doesn't get an extension as the family patriarch.

Uncle Buck just goes home.