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"Nothing I'm going to say is going to be satisfactory," said San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York. That statement came out of his mouth three times during what has become an annual attempt to save face for three years running. The statement is not untrue. Nothing York said was satisfactory. He was grilled during his Monday morning press conference, at times awkwardly, on what makes him qualified to lead a hunt for a replacement general manager and head coach. So much of what he said, or at times refused to say, reassured everybody in the room of one thing. Nothing he was going to say would be satisfactory.
"I don't make football decisions," York said at one point during the press conference. Well, if he doesn't make football decisions, then why is he the man in charge of rebuilding this football team? Sure, he will be paired with chief strategy officer & executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe, who is a numbers guy and a darn good salary cap manager. He oversees the team's football analytics department and keeps the 49ers out of the salary cap trouble that has plagued them in the past. But does the fact that Marathe will be in the room with York during interviews set anyone's mind at ease?
"Ultimately, the decision will rest with me," York said of the hiring process. "I will look at people inside the building and continue to consult people outside of the building, folks that I trust, folks that are very well respected. But, our system and our structure is going to be a head coach and a general manager and ultimately that decision will rest with me."
It feels like York got really lucky once with the hiring of Jim Harbaugh and that he feels if he keeps trying over and over again, that luck will eventually strike again. He's missed twice in a row now. Even in baseball, you only get three strikes until you are out. Is that what it will take for York to stop overseeing the team and bring in a football mind that is better equipped to make these decisions?
We all know that York is not going to fire himself. He was somewhat asked that during the press conference, which goes to show the lack of respect the team CEO has earned over the years to be asked a question as ridiculous as that. York confirmed that Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly were dismissed for failing to reach certain performance standards and then asked why he is not held to the same standard.
"We are going to be judged on what we do and what we accomplish," York responded. "We haven't accomplished enough. I own this football team. You don't dismiss owners. I'm sorry that that's the facts and that's the case, but that's the fact. And, I'm going to do everything that I can to get this right."
Last week, our own analyst Aaron Erickson wrote a two-part piece about what was then the possible firing of Baalke. The first reviewed the reasons that he should be fired. The second was a case for keeping Baalke. Most of the reasoning within the latter article surrounded the opinion that the York family was not qualified to lead a hunt for a replacement and reviewed previous missteps while running the team.
RELATED Transcript: Jed York discusses firings, says you don't dismiss owners
"Due to the unseemly end of Harbaugh's tenure with the 49ers, and the apparently odd particulars of the two following coaching searches, the Yorks are seen as meddlesome and impatient owners, which is a horrible combination for how they project their own ability to provide the single most important trait of NFL ownership: stability," wrote Erickson.
"The Yorks' difficulty in identifying talented and capable leaders might not even be their biggest concern," continued Erickson. "Because they have been so quick to replace head coaches, and so consistent in leaking rumors to the national media, they are already seen as presiding over an unstable organization."
To start to rebuild this once proud franchise, York will eventually have to get past his own ego and realize that he can't just keep starting over and hope that at some point, he will strike gold again. "I've done it before," York said on Monday. "We've put together a team that has had three NFC Championship runs." Yes, you did. Then you blew up that team because of your own ego and inability to get along with the head coach that got you there.
In his defense, he did go on to say that those accomplishments were all in the past and that he can't live in that past. "I need to make sure that anything that I do is backed up by the results that are on the field," York continued.
While there are a number of reasons to believe that the 49ers could look like an attractive opportunity for some general manager or head coach, such as a bounty of draft picks and a ton of salary cap room to lure in potential free agents, team ownership is not one of them. The Yorks will have to hit a homerun this time around in order to change that perception. Nothing Jed York said on Monday was satisfactory so he better make sure his actions that follow are.