NFL

Don’t get your hopes up, 49ers fans

Even if you don’t appreciate what you’re about to read, remember that I’m attempting to provide a service.

There’s nothing worse than getting one’s hopes up, only to have them dashed hours, days or weeks later. This is true in just about every part of life, from asking someone on a date to going on a job interview.

It’s also true in the world of sports. There are those who believe that ending your season in heartbreaking fashion with a close loss in a playoff game is better than not making it to the postseason at all.

Those people are idiots.

Not a single 49ers fan has benefitted from obsessing over the failings of Kyle Williams or fade passes to the corner of the end zone, just to provide a couple of painful examples. And it’s in that spirit where I’ll try to pump the brakes on this whole Jason La Canfora dream scenario, where Denise and John York strip Jed of his football powers and hand the reigns to a guy like Mike Shanahan.

I’ve had a day to digest his reportage, and sure, a logical person can easily imagine how the Yorks might look at what the Jedster has done and wish to make a change. If I was an old rich person and my son was a petulant tool who chased away the franchise’s best coach since Bill Walsh, I’d send him to his cabana with no supper and tell him to figure out a new line of work.

“How about sailing, son? Maybe you can hook up with Larry Ellison and zoom around the bay in a catamaran. Or become a dogwalker! You’d be good at that. No matter what you choose, you can still come to the games and eat and drink as much as you like in one of our posh suites. You just don’t get to pick the GM, coach and players anymore.”

But the Yorks have shown no desire to put football above family (or their profit margin). We also have several reasons to question the veracity of any report from Mr. La Canfora.

Disclaimer: La Canfora’s job isn’t easy. I’ve broken a half dozen or so stories over the last five years. They’ve all turned out to be true, but each one materialized within hours of my “scoops” being published on this website. I’ve had a chance to break a few other bits of local news, but I’m cautious about this stuff (translation: I don’t want to end up being wrong and hear about it from Twitter eggs for years). I’m also under far less pressure than La Canfora, whose job is to be an educated speculator on all NFL matters. And, as we all know in this crazy world where clicks matter more than facts, the juicier his educated speculation, the better. Throw in the fact that he’s competing against two absolute giants in Jay Glazer and Adam Schefter, as well as Ian Rapoport, Albert Breer, Chris Mortensen, Mike Silver, Jason Cole, Jim Trotter, Mike Florio and others, along with editors wanting La Canfora to produce scoops on a weekly (if not daily) basis, and it’s not difficult to see how an “insider” might run with something that’s a little less than airtight from time to time.

Yet, when a guy reports something that propels a battered, desperate group known as 49ers fans into a state of cautious optimism — which is clearly irrational considering how much this ownership group has punished the fans over and over again with poor decisions built on equal parts greed and arrogance — well, we have to look at past reports from JLC and see if we should grab a grain of salt or two. It’s the only responsible thing to do..

From a La Canfora story published on Dec. 7, 2014:

While many are connecting Harbaugh to the opening at Michigan, where he was a star quarterback, sources close to the coach maintain he is not interested. Harbaugh’s family has close ties to outgoing Michigan coach Brady Hoke and Harbaugh is much more interested in NFL possibilities.

Harbaugh ended up in Michigan, and Kaepernick is still the starting quarterback for the 49ers. So when La Canfora goes on KNBR and says this:

“They would ostensibly hire someone to actually run the football operations on a day-to-day basis. There would be someone there, whether it’s Mike Shanahan or whomever, who may then themselves decide I should be the coach and executive vice president of football operations. But at the very least, there would be someone, a football man, atop the entire personnel pyramid, who would essentially be sort of a team president/head of football ops, who would be making the day-to-day decisions on the way things operate.”

And this:

“Jed would be out, he would be out. He wouldn’t be involved in football operations. I mean you can get cute with titles. You can do whatever you think you have to do. But the premise would be, the top of the pyramid would be this person they bring in, to effectively be running the football operation.”

We probably shouldn’t ignore this report from Pro Football Talk (as much as some of us would like to).

According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, none of those things will be happening. Jed York won’t be leaving the football operation, his parents (Denise DeBartolo York and Dr. John York) won’t be replacing him, and the team won’t be hiring Mike Shanahan in any capacity.

Not may be or could be or possibly will be or any of the other weasel words that will litter so many reports of comings and goings over the next few weeks. Will not be, period.

As the source explained it, the CBS report likely originated from an effort by Shanahan to get his name in circulation as the offseason carousel begins to spin. He has made no secret of his desire to get back in the NFL, but to date he has found no takers.

Granted, La Canfora and Florio have quarreled in the past. La Canfora also doesn’t appear to like Rapoport.

Again, it’s a pressure-packed job. La Canfora has gotten some things correct throughout his career, but to think that Denise and John would do EXACTLY what fans have been clamoring to see ever since Harbaugh departed and move Jed out of football ops (essentially admitting that they never should’ve fired Harbaugh in the first place), is to ignore 17 years of the Yorks not even hinting that they give a rat’s ass what the fans want.

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