Bad luck would be better than the luck Steve Wilks has had in recent years. The 49ers' decision to part ways with him after just one season was the latest in a series of bad breaks for the longtime coach. 

Wilks arrived in San Francisco last year after a successful stint as the Carolina Panthers' interim head coach. He was passed over by Frank Reich despite leading Carolina to a 6-6 finish after the team went 1-4 under Matt Rhule. Carolina went 2-15 this past season, with Reich fired following a 1-10 start. 

Along with making the Panthers competitive, Wilks quickly won over a locker room that wanted him to remain coach

"We ride behind Wilks," linebacker Shaq Thompson said at the time. "He came in here, he's a true alpha, he's a true leader and guys follow behind him. He's done amazing. Look what we've been going through."

"I think with him being able to be honest with us and tell us exactly how we're going to play the game and what we want to do and not shy away from that," then-Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold added. "He said early on, even when we were losing some games, it was, 'Hey, trust the process and trust the game plan.' If we go into a game knowing we want to run the football and early we get down a score or two, we just got to trust it and know that that game plan is going to come to fruition. So I think Coach Wilks has been doing a really good job messaging that to the team."

Wilks, who has won two NFC titles as a defensive backs coach, was previously a head coach with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. He lasted just one year, however, after the Cardinals went 3-13 that season. Bad quarterback play was a big reason for the team's struggles. Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick in that year's draft, failed to develop into a pro level passer. He went just 3-10 that season while throwing more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11).

Arizona went out and hired Kliff Kingsbury, who compiled a 28-37-1 record during his four seasons as the Cardinals' head coach before being fired after the 2022 season. Kingsbury, though, at least had a Pro Bowl-level quarterback in Kyler Murray, who was drafted the year after Wilks' dismissal. 

As bad as the Panthers' and Cardinals' situations were, Wilks' oust from the 49ers might be worse. San Francisco boasted the NFL's third-best scoring defense during the regular season. The unit picked off Packers quarterback Jordan Love twice in the 49ers' divisional round win after Love threw just one pick in his previous nine games. 

After allowing 24 points in the first half of the NFC title game, Wilks' unit gave up just seven points in the second half of the 49ers' 34-31 win over the Lions. A key forced fumble by the defense set up the 49ers' game-tying score.

In the Super Bowl, the 49ers allowed just one touchdown in regulation. They forced the Chiefs to settle for a field goal at the end of regulation to force overtime. The 49ers' defensive performance is more impressive when you consider that linebacker Dre Greenlaw (who had both picks of Love three weeks earlier) left the game for good after suffering a freak Achilles injury in the second quarter. 

In overtime, the 49ers were simply unable to contain Patrick Mahomes, who in that game only solidified his place as one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. But San Francisco's offense also contributed to the loss by having to settle for field goal on each of its last two drives. 

Wilks' dismissal looks even worse when you consider that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week that he expected his staff to be kept in-tact. Shanahan obviously backtracked while essentially deciding to make Wilks the scapegoat.