Not all the turkeys are on Thanksgiving tables. Occasionally, you can find one on an NFL sideline.
Tomsula, whose team has a 3-7 record, would not be the first coach to be found wanting so quickly. In the last quarter-century, more than a dozen NFL coaches have been one-and-done, an admission that either the owner didn't know what he was doing when he made the hire, or the coach didn't know what he was doing.
The quick trigger rarely is a mistake, although it was in 1994 when the New York Jets fired a first-time head coach named Pete Carroll after a 6-10 inaugural season. They replaced him with a stumblebum named Rich Kotite, who apparently was a friend of the team's owner. That friendship went up in flames when Kotite was let go after two years with a 4-28 record.
Carroll, with two straight NFC titles and a Super Bowl ring at Seattle, seems to have recovered nicely.
Among those who did not recover were such forgettable head coaches as Rob Chudzinski (4-12 with Cleveland in 2013), Cam Cameron (1-15 with Miami in 2007), Rod Rust (1-15 with New England in 1990), Joe Bugel (4-12 with Oakland in 1997) and Richie Petitbon (4-12 with Washington in 1993).
Of the seven coaches who began the season, either as first-time head coaches or with a new team, the only one on shaky ground is Tomsula.
His 49ers are among three teams, with Oakland and Chicago, in that group with a losing record. Unlike the 49ers, the Raiders and Bears have new coaches with proven records. The 49ers do not, which means their management, which does not have a good track record, must decide if they are on the right track.
Tomsula managed to last as an assistant under three different head coaches with the 49ers which makes him, at least, unique, but it's one thing to be a survivor and another to be a competent NFL head coach.
Already, there have been calls for Tomsula's firing in the Bay Area. The 49ers were likely to suffer this year regardless of who was coaching them. The real question is whether Tomsula can turn the team around in the future.
When a team implodes as the 49ers have, from three straight NFC championship game appearances to .500 a year ago to 3-7 now, there is rarely just one reason for the problem or one person responsible. Front office dysfunction and player losses including retirements have played a role, and the team ranks 28th in defense (after four straight top-5 finishes), but the most visible problem is quarterback Colin Kaepernick, now on injured reserve and out for the year. Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback himself, could work with that position. Now?
At Oakland, coach Jack Del Rio has infused the roster with an attitude of professionalism, and general manager Reggie McKenzie has hit on key draft choices including quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders are 4-6, but they haven't won more than four games in a season since 2011 and haven't had a winning record since 2002. They are making progress.
Likewise Chicago, whose new coach, John Fox, took two previous teams, Carolina and Denver, to the Super Bowl. Under Fox, quarterback Jay Cutler finally has showed signs of becoming a leader and a defense which seemed devoid of apparent talent has shown significant improvement. Fox's history earns him a wide berth and a truckload of patience.
After an 0-3 start against Green Bay, Arizona and Seattle, the Bears have won four of seven, and the three losses were by a total of eight points.
The best record among new coaches is Gary Kubiak's 8-2 at Denver, but Kubiak will be challenged down the stretch walking a minefield because of Peyton Manning's injury. Does he bring Manning back, or if Brock Osweiler continues to play well, does he go into the playoffs with the youngster?
For the record, it has been 26 years since a first-year coach won the Super Bowl, George Seifert with the 49ers following the 1989 season.
--Ira Miller is an award-winning sportswriter who has covered the National Football League for more than four decades and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He is a national columnist for The Sports Xchange.