Mike Nolan will be allowed to wear a suit on the sideline for each of the 49ers' eight home games, an NFL spokesman said today.
"We've agreed to coach Nolan's request," said Brian McCarthy, the NFL's director of corporate communications. "He told us he was looking (to wear the suit) for the eight home games."
The issue generated a lot of conversation among 49ers fans in the past week, as Nolan said he had been told that he could wear a suit on the sideline for only two games this season. He and Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio wore suits during two games last season, too.
McCarthy emphasized it is the NFL that determines the policy for what coaches wear on the sideline. Nolan said last week that he was under the impression it was Reebok making the decision. Reebok pays the NFL a reported $250 million to be the clothing supplier for the league.
Shortly after the issue resurfaced last week, 49ers fans began showing their support for Nolan. On this blog, a person identifying himself as "ninerfan21" first suggested fans wear suits for the 49ers' season-opening Monday night game against the Cardinals on Sept. 10. It was an idea that gained a lot of momentum in short period of time.
So why did the NFL decide to change its policy?
"Commissioner (Roger) Goodell took a harder look at it and he supported the issue," McCarthy said. "In recognition of Nolan's desire to salute and honor his father, we expanded (the policy) to meet his request."
Nolan's father, Dick, was a head coach for 11 seasons, including eight with the 49ers. He led the 49ers to their first three division titles. Like many of the coaches of yesteryear, Dick Nolan wore a suit and tie on the sideline.
Recently, Dick has fallen on hard times. He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and lives in an assisted-living facility in Texas for patients dealing with dementia. He also suffers from prostate cancer.
Nolan is does not plan to wear a suit during the exhibition season. He asked to wear the suit for the eight home games, instead of the full 16-game regular season, as a compromise, a 49ers spokesman said.
When Nolan was hired as coach of the 49ers in January 2005, he informed the league of his desire to be allowed to wear a suit on the sideline. According to McCarthy, it was "too late in the cycle" for the league to do anything for that season.
Nolan and Del Rio worked with Reebok to design suits to be worn for two games apiece last season.
During the league meeting in March, the league asked the remaining coaches if they had any desire to wear suits. Nobody chose to join Nolan and Del Rio, although Nolan said last week 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary would like to wear a suit when he becomes a head coach.
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. Thank you.
This is NFL talk, this opens it up for other coaches also.