Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports



When Jed York sat in front of the media recently and waxed poetic about how the San Francisco 49ers need to reestablish a championship culture and move forward with a general manager/head coach tandem who work well together, it sounded good, didn't it? After all, York's franchise hasn't exactly been the model of stability lately, and righting the ship is absolutely essential or he could risk a complete break in what's already a fractured fan base.

In the days since his press conference, York has made true on his promise to leave no stone unturned in an effort to find the right people, as the 49ers have interviewed (or will) pretty much every viable candidate for both general manager and head coach. Moreover, when you look at the options available, it appears there's no way San Francisco can screw this up.

The Niners are the only team looking for a new general manager, and there are more than enough exciting, viable candidates to choose from (Eliot Wolf, Brian Gutekunst, Louis Riddick, etc.). As far as the coach, arguably the two top options are Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan, both of whom are available with little competition. The only other franchises still looking for a head man are the Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers, and it's unlikely McDaniels or Shanahan would wind up in either spot.

So here it is, all laid out perfectly in front of York, and fans should feel pretty confident that San Francisco is about to bring in two very good people. Thing is, for me, until York proves that he's actually going to do this, I don't think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Why?

To start, just look at what's transpired the last three years. The 49ers didn't just hit a bump in the road, they were historically dysfunctional and mismanaged in every aspect. San Francisco is about to hire it's fourth coach in the last 26 months, and they're the first team in 30 years to have consecutive one-and-done coaches.

It started by running the only successful coach the Yorks have ever hired (Jim Harbaugh) out of town in favor of Trent Baalke, who was single-handedly ruining the roster with every short-sort-sighted, conservative move. In an effort to rebound from the Harbaugh debacle, York and Baalke seemed to have the right idea in hiring the up-and-coming Adam Gase but pulled the offer at the last minute in favor of an unqualified defensive line coach, Jim Tomsula. So not only did they hire the wrong guy, they did so in the most dysfunctional way possible by alienating Gase in the process.

Fast forward to a year later, and York was back at the drawing board again trying to clean up the Tomsula mess. Instead of starting over when he should have, York attempted to hire a new coach, Chip Kelly, and stick him with Baalke despite the fact that the latter was on his last legs. What this did was set up an awkward situation for the future, as another bad season with minimal player development would most likely spell the end of Baalke, and leave Kelly twisting in the wind. That's exactly what happened, and here we are.

Now York's back at square one and supposed to make a move to save this franchise. Excuse me if I'm not beaming with confidence. Even if you erase the last three years and take the York ownership as a whole, it's been a train wreck since 2003. Just look at the coaching records of the men they've hired.

Coach Record Winning Seasons
Dennis Erickson (2003-2004) 9-23 0
Mike Nolan (2005-2008) 18-37 0
Mike Singletary (2008-2010) 18-22 0
Jim Harbaugh (2011-2014) 44-19-1 3
Jim Tomsula (2015)* 6-11 0
Chip Kelly (2016) 2-14 0
*Tomsula was also interim coach for one game in 2010

So, other than Harbaugh, coaches hired by the Yorks have gone a combined 53-107 with no winning seasons. That's a decade of futility that's turned one of the NFL's gloried franchises into just another also-ran. It's as simple as this, excluding the strike-shortened 1982 season, the 49ers won 10 or more games 19 times in 21 years. They averaged 11 wins per season during that stretch. Since the Yorks started hiring coaches, they're averaging 6.9 wins per year even with Harbaugh's tenure. That's a theme at this point and an all too familiar one.

Look, anyone who reads what I write on a regular basis knows that I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong. If York surprises me (and I hope he does), I'll be glad to sing his praises about making the right moves. I also fully understand that it could take some time, as McDaniels and Shanahan can't be hired until their respective teams are out of the playoffs. But until that happens (if that happens), York doesn't get the benefit of the doubt from me. If that makes me negative, so be it. Prove me wrong, Jed.

Al Sacco has been covering the 49ers since 2013 and has had his work used by national outlets such as ESPN and USA TODAY. If you'd like to reach Al with a media request, please contact him via Twitter @AlSacco49