When the San Francisco 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh, they had it easy. The team immediately saw success and didn’t have to entertain the idea of wondering whether or not the hire was a good one. It was a great hire. The 49ers were contenders for the Super Bowl in the first three seasons of Harbaugh’s tenure. Then in the fourth season, due to some power struggle and undermining, the team faltered to an 8-8 record and Harbaugh was gone.
Rather than thoughtfully seek a new head coach, the 49ers under CEO Jed York took the easy way out and hired Jim Tomsula and revamped the coaching staff to this collection of misfit ideas. It was a poor hire and one year later, the 49ers let Tomsula go. He couldn’t wait to get rid of Harbaugh instead of resolving the issue. He quickly then dismissed Tomsula (with news surfacing before season ended).
So the 49ers knew they had to get it right. They can’t afford to screw up once again. After interviewing the likes of Hue Jackson, Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan, the team settled for Chip Kelly.
Jed York said everything he was supposed to say as he addressed the San Francisco 49ers’ ugly 2015 season. He said that Jim Tomsula was a great guy but the team had to go another direction. He admitted that he missed on trying to make this season competitive for the 49ers. He didn’t even really address Jim Harbaugh. He says he gets too emotional on Twitter. He said a lot of things on Monday. None of it really matters.
What York has put the team through in the past two seasons warrants more than just a press conference with “all the right words” to make everything better. But there was nothing he could do Monday to truly salvage the ugliness the team has endured.
The press conference was a given. The speech and message to fans was a nice touch. But that’s not what the team needs at this time. York knows he messed up. His conference on Monday was only for him to admit that fact. And that is only the first step in a long process of righting the wrongs.
I had met and talked with Jim Tomsula several years ago while he was still the defensive lines coach. He was a good man. He knew his craft. His players respected him.
When the 49ers tabbed him as head coach, I thought that there may be a chance that he could get through to the players. But since I didn’t think he had the X’s and O’s background to really succeed as a head coach, it was hard for me to see how far he could take this depleted roster.
Now that it looks like he’s done, I wonder what this means for the organization. Tomsula was not the best option as head coach at the time. The 49ers could have tried harder to find a new coach with higher qualifications. But instead, it seemed like Jed York just went the easy route.
As part of the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl in February, the league has celebrated it by making its logo gold. They’ve also had all teams paint the 50-yard marker gold. Before the season started, the league emphasized certain regular season matchups that so happen to be Super Bowl rematches.
On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers are set to face the Cincinnati Bengals. The 49ers faced the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XXIII, winning both games. To celebrate their Super Bowl triumph, the 49ers are transforming their field to mimic the field design they had during their glory years at Candlestick Park.
The question now is whether or not the 49ers will go with a throwback uniform to go with the occasion.
I’m a Vernon Davis fan. Not just him as the football player but also as a human being. I covered the 49ers for five seasons and the final three I got a chance to interact with coaches and players during practices, games and other functions. I wasn’t close to Davis. We kept our relationship professional and I was just fine with that.
I remember during training camp in 2010, a Danish news media outlet flew out two reporters to do a story on the 49ers. They were anxious to talk with Davis because he and then head coach Mike Singletary were paired up to promote the upcoming London game that year. Davis was the biggest name they knew on the 49ers.
When Davis came out to the field to meet with reporters, the Danish reporters started asking him questions. If you’re familiar with the location of the 49ers’ practice facility, you know that it’s near an airport and loud planes frequently fly over the field. Davis heard a plane and stopped talking. He waited for the plane to pass by, knowing that he wanted to make sure these reporters who traveled all this distance got a clear sound bite. He smiled and once the plane passed by, he continued where he left off.
It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it is my favorite moment covering Davis and it had nothing to do with me interviewing him. But it was the perfect example of the kind of man Davis was with the media. Every time he spoke, he always spoke clearly. He thought through his words before speaking. He understood the power of presentation. That fit well with his various passions. He loved to paint and show off his work. He had aspirations to start his own TV show. The man understood how to handle and present himself.
I had always assumed that Terrell Owens’ famous touchdown celebration on the Cowboys’ star was because he wanted to mock the opposition.
In “A Football Life,” Owens retells the story of that day and said it was his way of praising God. You can believe that if you want or not, but watch the video and see for yourself.
For years Eddie DeBartolo Jr. has been close to enshrinement into the Hall of Fame but has always been left out. I thought that his chances of getting in were getting slimmer. He’s been a presenter for some of the inductees and those men have called for his enshrinement as well.
Now as he is a finalist for the contributor category, there is a good chance he gets into the Hall of Fame. He helped lead the 49ers dynasty with five Super Bowl titles and had such a major influence during that time period. When talking about owners in the NFL, DeBartolo is one of the greatest — if not the greatest.
He made major contributions to the league and to the 49ers. The way he handled the team and the success is unmatched and I am still shocked he’s not in. But now with this news, there is a good chance.