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I wanted to write this piece after Mike Singletary was fired...and then again after Trent Baalke was hired...but decided it would be best to wait until the media frenzy surrounding the hire of Jim Harbaugh had subsided. Now that the media roar has died down, the residents of 49erland (myself included) need to take a moment to offer up a big fat apology to Jed York.
Over the course of his tenure as the 49ers President, Jed York has been the target of some very heavy criticism. Granted, Jed has done his part to earn the ire of the 49er fan base since emerging as the man in charge of the 49ers. Though obviously intelligent, his inexperience was reflected by a host of decisions that seemed to reflect 2-dimensional thinking: from his hiring of Mike Singletary as head coach to his Division Championship prognostication via text message to this GM/Head Coach search, Jed had become an almost constant punch line to the joke that his once great franchise had become.
Anonymous posters in the Bay Area football blogosphere called him everything from "Jed Dork" to "the lucky sperm". Some called him a coward. Others called him cheap. Some even called him a liar. Local media pundit and tinfoil hat aficionado Lowell Cohn went so far as to sardonically dub him "The Prince". Tim Kawakami, local media negativity spigot/Raider apologist, wrote that Jed had set himself up to fail. Michael Lombardi, professional NFL network mouthpiece/currently unemployed football executive, implied that Jed was not committed to positive change (which I believe was code language for "Aw shucks, I still can't get a job in the NFL").
Well, kids...it is time to eat some crow. After all was said and done on Friday afternoon, Jed got the coach he wanted...at the price he wanted...with the GM he picked.
As it turns out, Jed wasn't cheap, he wasn't a coward, and he hadn't set himself up to fail. He had a plan, he picked the GM he thought would best execute that plan, and then he set that plan in motion. For the first time in recent memory, the 49ers called their shot and came through. For at least a day, the beleaguered populace of 49erland had something to cheer about. For the first time all season, the 49ers had accomplished that which they had set out to achieve.
Does this mean that all is right with the 49ers? Has everything been magically put right? No. Not yet, anyway. There is no telling what will happen with this team until it hits the field next season. I believe that Harbaugh and his offense are perfect for this team (the 2nd half of the Orange Bowl was basically an interview for an NFL head coaching gig), but with a lockout looming, uncertainty at quarterback, and a free agent market that is for all intents and purposes "up in the air", there is still much to be accomplished before the 49ers regain relevance on the field.
What this means is that for one day, things went exactly as the 49ers wanted them to. And regardless of how you feel about Jed York, for today at least, he deserves credit for calling his shot and hitting it out of the park.