It’s been an interesting morning for 49ers fans, full of rumors to distract everyone from the terrible product on the field. It’s also been a painful morning for the York family on several fronts.
Barely anyone is going to attend today’s wretched contest at Levi’s Stadium between two teams that stopped caring weeks ago.
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) December 11, 2016
This is good. After losing to the Bears in what may have been the worst football game I’ve ever watched on television, I called for fans to stay away from that sterile dump next to Great America until “transformative, uncomfortable and humiliating” changes are made. And those who choose to attend (why anyone would willingly go to Levi’s today if they aren’t paid to do so is beyond me) can see this flying above the Yorks’ ugly office park that doubles as a football facility:
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) December 11, 2016
It’s a play on Jim Harbaugh’s famous tweet after the Yorks fired Jim Tomsula:
Do not be deceived. You will reap what you sow.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 4, 2016
Speaking of Harbaugh, he was linked to the Rams job — that we thought was safely in the clutches of Mr. 7-9 (Jeff Fisher) — by Albert Breer on Colin Cowherd’s show. That would be absolutely insane and hilarious if Harbaugh threw a tantrum over the officiating and playoff selection process in college football and left his alma mater. An added benefit: the Yorks certainly don’t like the prospect of facing Harbaugh twice every year. But that rumor doesn’t seem quite as legit as the nuggets thrown out there by Jason La Canfora today.
“It would be a surprise if Baalke was retained,” wrote La Canfora. He also suggested that a familiar face could be on his way back to the Bay Area.
Several NFL owners believe Jed York’s parents, Denise and John York, will be taking a more hands-on approach with the team as they determine how to reposition the franchise, and Mike Shanahan, who has been under consideration for coaching openings there in the past, could join the 49ers in a coaching and/or executive capacity. His name continues to be connected to potential openings there, and the Yorks have spoken to him in the past.
As tempting as it is to focus on the Shanahan part of this paragraph, especially since the “Full Shanahan” (a Mike Shanahan/Kyle Shanahan combo hire) was the most realistic suggestion I could come up with to resurrect this sad, once-proud franchise, that’s not the most noteworthy thing here.
If La Canfora is correct about Denise and John “taking a more hands-on approach,” that’s pretty remarkable. It isn’t necessarily a good sign, mind you. John York was just as much of a trainwreck as his son in the role of CEO/head decision-maker. But it could signal an end to Jed’s reign, which hasn’t gone particularly well once he decided he and his buddy Trader Trent couldn’t get along with Harbaugh.
- Maybe Denise and John are tired of watching their petulant son run this team into the ground and embarrass the family with all of these stories about youth soccer fields and the team’s recent habit of squabbling with the city of Santa Clara.
- Or they’re tired of seeing Jed get torn to shreds by 49ers fans and every single person in the local media (other than the few who are just happy that the South Bay got an NFL team).
- Or Jed wants to pursue other interests, like politics or cabana maintenance.
Denise and John are in their mid-60s, so it’s not like they’re too old to get more involved in the football side of things. Besides, John has had a hand in things throughout the family’s ownership tenure, just in a quieter fashion recently than in the early/mid-2000s when he was thought of as the owner and Jed was rising through the ranks (based solely on merit, I’m sure).
But now 49ers fans have two things that could be sources of hope.
- Trent Baalke could be gone as soon as Jan. 2, 2017.
- The Yorks may have FINALLY realized that they have no football sense and want to create a front office full of football experts with years of football experience. You know, like Eddie Debartolo did after he realized that Joe Thomas wasn’t working out as the team’s GM.
I’m a “don’t get your hopes up” person to a fault, so I’m just going to assume the Yorks will restructure the front office and make Baalke and Paraag Marathe “co-GMs,” with John taking on a more overbearing “advisory” role in the organization. But if the Yorks actually make huge changes and shift power away from the Jed/Trent/Paraag trio, this awful season could bear fruit in ways other than top-two draft pick.