I wish I was getting ready to head over to the Palace Hotel for the Jim Harbaugh press conference since I only work two blocks away, but I’m not. Why? Because at work, all the editors are going to see “Tron: Legacy” at the mall this afternoon as a “team building” exercise, and I can’t get out of it. Otherwise I’d be there to apologize to Jed York in person.
Apology? That’s not very bloggerish of me, is it? Well, I’m not going to apologize for writing that Jed York shouldn’t talk so much. He would have saved himself a lot of grief over the past couple weeks/years if he’d have played things closer to the vest and not tried so hard to instill confidence in front of microphones/texting screens. But I do apologize for not at all believing that this had a chance of happening. I didn’t think they’d be able to pay enough money, put together a strong enough presentation, offer him the power he was seeking, whatever.
I didn’t think they’d beat out Michigan. I didn’t think they’d beat out Miami when they were rumored to offer Harbaugh millions more than the 49ers had been rumored to be willing to pay. In the end, I didn’t think they’d beat out Stanford (especially since as it stands now, they’ll have a better quarterback than the 49ers in 2011).
I underestimated Harbaugh’s desire to stay in this area. I underestimated his desire to come in and rescue a program known for operating with class, as he had with University of San Diego and then Stanford. Most of all, I underestimated Jed’s ability to get this thing done. Details will probably come out that give us more insight as to how this whole process went down, but I may have underestimated Trent Baalke’s role in all this, too.
In all, regardless to how much you hate the idea of another NCAA coach moving to the NFL, this is a tremendous victory for the 49ers. For the first time in a while, they got someone that other teams want. They spent money. They moved in a direction that only tangentially involves the Baltimore Ravens (with John Harbaugh as their coach) instead of trying to replicate the Ravens’ entire philosophy from 2000.
And what should excite fans the most is that, for the first time in years, the 49ers are going towards offensive innovation, not shying away from it. You won’t see players quitting on the team during preseason anymore, or quarterbacks rolling their eyes on the sidelines. This hire, this monumental success for Jed York, doesn’t guarantee wins. But it does guarantee hope, and for fans around here, that has been in short supply for far too long.