The 49ers gave us a lifetime’s worth of memories from 1981 until Steve Mariucci was fired. But they’ve lost the city they call home. Sure, they’re still called the “San Francisco” 49ers, but they’ve been kicking sand into our Anchor Steam for the better part of a decade, and the product the San Francisco Giants has led to a full-scale takeover of the City by the Bay.
Jed York is responsive and candid, so the media is loathe to criticize him. Also, York the younger is very good at deflecting criticism. It was his dad’s fault the 49ers lost their way. It was Terry Donahue’s fault. It was Mike Nolan’s fault. It was J.T. O’Sullivan’s fault. It was Mike Martz’s fault. It was Scot McCloughan’s fault. And within a week or nine, it will be Mike Singletary’s fault.
Meanwhile, the 49ers haven’t made one upgrade to Candlestick Park in years (not only did Peter Magowan’s group find a way to finance Pac Bell Park, they also made several upgrades to The Stick immediately after taking over the team). Jed spends a ridiculous amount of time campaigning for a stadium in Santa Clara that will never be built, when he isn’t out finding rich people to buy luxury suites for this imaginary stadium.
Worst of all, while the Yorks spend most of their salary cap allotment on players, they don’t spend any money whatsoever on the men leading the team. Singletary was a nice, cheap option once Nolan couldn’t be kept around any longer, and he was saddled with many of the same assistants Nolan had. Why? Because the Yorks didn’t want to spend any more money on coaches than they had to. Of course, seeing as Singletary hand-picked Jimmy Raye to replace Martz, maybe less control in that area isn’t the worst plan. Then again, if you can’t trust your head coach to choose good assistants he shouldn’t be a head coach. Sigh…
McCloughan was a dollar-store GM as it was, and then after he left Jed said they were going to assess things and that maybe they wouldn’t even include a GM in their organizational structure. If that isn’t a red flag, the only red flags in the world exist in Singletary’s pocket for when he wants to challenge plays that can’t be challenged.
Where’s the sense of urgency? Where’s the offer to Steve Young to come on as a coach or at least as a consultant? He spends most of his time in the Bay Area and clearly loves the 49ers and wants them to succeed … unfortunately he would command the same money he’s currently making at ESPN and would be the smartest person in the building (sorry, Paraag), so the Yorks would never be willing to bring him on.
The Yorks would argue that they’d pay more for coaches and front office execs with a clue if they had a new, expensive, sterile stadium where they could make money off things like luxury suites, PSLs and $50 parking (oh yes, parking will be $50 if they ever do get a stadium built … if it isn’t $75 like it is in Dallas). But I don’t want the Yorks to get a dime of public money. Things look bad because they’re losing, but they way they’re losing is even more frustrating. Their incompetence and bitter frugality are so transparent, especially to fans like us who’ve seen what good NFL franchises look like.
With the Giants doing everything right these days, 49ers football is no longer life and death. Instead, the Niners are like a dying tree in your backyard that you never liked anyway because it’s ugly. And it’s too bad, because the 49ers used to run this town. They were a major player in the biggest league in the United States. They were envied, hated and respected by the entire nation. Now, they’re the Clippers with a more decorated history, with Super Bowl victories that seem to have occurred eons ago.
Singletary isn’t a head coach in the NFL, or anywhere else. He’s a guy you pay $25,000 to come in before a game and give your team a pep talk, a la Ronnie Lott with the New Orleans Saints (I have no knowledge of Lott getting paid to talk to the defending champs, but let’s just say it wouldn’t surprise me). The 49ers lost to the Carolina Panthers, who are HORRIBLE. Even more horrible? David Carr. Even worse than Carr? Singletary’s smile/smirk after Carr’s interception late in the fourth quarter which led to the Panthers’ game-winning field goal. We get it, Mike. You knew Carr sucked and that’s why you stuck with Alex Smith.
So, umm … WHY IS CARR ON THE TEAM?
How could Nate Davis be so bad that he can’t even make the squad? Why is Troy Smith a third-stringer, behind Carr? Carr can’t even raise his arm above his shoulder — his throwing motion is even uglier than his helmet! The guy makes Shaun Hill look like Kurt Warner.
For people who want Greg Manusky to come in and take over as head coach, why? This defense is horrific. Great, they can stop the run. We all know the NFL is a running league these days … oh, wait. The 49ers’ defensive backs were picked apart by guys named Matt Moore and David Gettis today, in what will probably end up being the best game of both Moore’s and Gettis’ lives.
The scary thing is that the Yorks won’t sell like Chris Cohan, because NFL owners — as Ray Ratto often says — have a license to print money. It’s a fail-safe enterprise, even for failures like the Yorks. And it’s been long enough to decide that yes, the Yorks are absolute failures as NFL owners. Penny-pinching and nepotism? Yes. Accountability? Hell, no.
The Yorks don’t care about representing San Francisco to the rest of the nation, all they care about is moving the team out of San Francisco to the first place that will provide a stadium for free. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were in Los Angeles in 10 years — since the Yorks are rapidly losing support here from fans who are tired of being fed an inferior product in every way. Plus, we have better options like the Giants, the team which calls San Francisco home with an ownership group that actually acts like they’re representing one of the most well-known cities in the world. Not that we want the Niners to leave, but the Yorks are making it impossible to live and die with this team without a razor blade in one hand and a bottle of pills in the other. No thanks, I’ll live and die with the tortuous baseball team. And I’m far from alone.
So how will the rest of this season end? In a sick way, that could be kind of interesting. Will they blatantly tank? I might be difficult to lose next weekend in London, what with the Raiders taking a 31-0 lead in the second quarter in Denver as I write this. However, if Smith’s shoulder is badly injured and Singletanky (or SingleWINtary, if you’re so inclined) keeps trotting Carr out there, the 49ers might not win another game. Then the only question would be whether the Yorks will pass on their No. 1 overall pick to avoid paying all that guaranteed money. Nothing would shock us at this point.