Amid 49ers coach debate, San Pablo man’s 1980 letter to editor about Bill Walsh revisited

Amid 49ers coach debate, San Pablo man's 1980 letter-to-editor about Bill Walsh revisited

San Francisco Chronicle journalist Peter Hartlaub penned a fun story Tuesday in which he unearthed letters to the editor from 1980 about legendary football coach Bill Walsh, when his record with the San Francisco 49ers was 8-24.

Walsh went on to lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory in 1981 and turned the team into a storied franchise. But when things weren’t going well, some fans were losing patience.

A letter penned by a Karl Kruger from San Pablo was one of the Chronicle writer’s most amusing discoveries, in our opinion.

“Bill Walsh spends too much time on public relations, and not enough time preparing his team for the following week’s game,” Kruger’s letter stated. “This must be why the Bay Area press treats him like a winning coach. How would the media treat a .200 coach if he was the Ayatollah Khomeini?”

Meanwhile, a San Francisco man named Jeff Ross wrote at the time in favor of trading Joe Montana for Marc Wilson when Montana had thrown only 23 NFL passes.

He suggested the 49ers should “draft BYU quarterback Marc Wilson No. 1 and use the rest of the draft to get a deep receiver and help the defense,” according to the Chronicle post.

“With Steve DeBerg and Wilson, the Niners could afford to trade Joe Montana for either a good offensive or defensive player, or a good draft choice,” Ross added.

Hartlaub made it a point to say his article wasn’t intended to embarrass the letter writers. All sports enthusiasts make predictions that don’t pan about, even the folks on TV who are paid a lot of money to make them.

But the journalist points out such letters are good to keep in mind amid the debate over who should be the next 49ers head coach.