The Fun Will End Quickly If Baalke’s The One

Jan 4, 2011 at 8:05 AM


Go ahead, guys. Celebrate.

Ordinarily, you'd look a bit silly. I mean, really, what's the big deal? Despite your preseason expectations, you needed to beat the hapless Cardinals just to avoid last place in the worst division in NFL history. Beat 'em you did, to finish a lowly 6-and-10.

And in a crumbling stadium virtually empty, you showered your coach with Gatorade.

To an unknowing observer, the celebration might've looked odd, or even pathetic. ("That franchise used to win Super Bowls, right?") But having lived through this season of insufferable torture, we saw it differently, and we understood.

You weren't celebrating your victory. You were celebrating your freedom.

Free at last of a certain coach's tyrannical oppression, we played with a joyful abandon that Jim Tomsula had wisely encouraged. "He thought all year we played cautious and didn't enjoy the game," Alex Smith said. "We kind of let loose tonight." And it certainly showed. After an opening series of run, run, pass, punt--just for old times' sake, I guess--Smith went out in style, throwing deep and setting a personal record for yards in a win. (Those yards were still only 276, which pretty much says it all.) Meanwhile, on D, Greg Manusky was equally aggressive, dialing up exotic blitzes and coverage schemes. And though, again, what we are against the Cardinals isn't ever what we are, we couldn't help but wonder what indeed we might've been. "It's a great what-if," Smith said, on his way to anywhere-but-here. "I know we'll never know."

And so the season closed, with great regret but great relief.

Of course, strong showings in meaningless late-season games are nothing new around here, and in the past they'd proven dangerous, inflating false hopes that masked core defects that went unfixed. But THIS year, Jed's committed to hiring a new GM, who will hire a new coach, who will hire a new quarterback. So THIS year, no false hopes will get in the way.

Right?

Depends.

Last week, Jed boldly announced that he'd look high and low for his new GM. He acknowledged that Trent Baalke had been working "sort of in a GM-like role," and thus would be considered, but he stressed that "we need to go out and look at a lot of other people that have been there, that have done that before." He admitted that he'd jumped the gun on the internal promotion of a certain coach, and he wouldn't make that mistake again.

The implication was that the mistake was the internal promotion. After all, though internal promotions make plenty of sense when you're successful, they seem downright stupid when you're wrapping up a decade of futility. But if we're to believe the blogosphere's nearly unanimous prediction, the mistake wasn't the internal promotion. The mistake was merely making it too fast.

So THIS time, as promised, Jed will "get this right." He'll speak to (and waste the time of) plenty of guys who have been there and done that. And THEN he'll make the internal promotion.

See? All better.

There are three salient reasons why Jed must pass on Baalke. The first, of course, is that Baalke's unqualified. Last year, Jed (more or less) explained the breadth of a GM's skillset: "not just a personnel piece, but the understanding of, you know, contract negotiations, the market for players, ... the business aspect of sports." Baalke's a scout. He might be a GOOD scout (more on this later), but that's just the "personnel piece." He's got no experience in the nuts and bolts of building an organization. And for the first task the GM will face--hiring a coach--he's got less experience than Jed himself.

The second reason, again, is that Baalke's already here. He's been here for six years, six non-winning years. Has he increased our talent? Sure. In '04 we had none, and we've now got the most in the NFC West. (Huzzah!) But Jed seems to think--false hope alert--we've got enough to contend for the Super Bowl, and that just isn't true. It's not just at quarterback, a weakness that Jed's acknowledged. Think of the OTHER crucial positions: deep-threat receiver, shutdown corner, pass-rushing linebacker. In our search for elite talent at those positions, we're no closer now than we were in '05. So even regarding the "personnel piece," Baalke's hardly a proven genius.

The third reason is the product of the first two. If Baalke's unqualified to evaluate coaches, and if he's overrated at evaluating players, how on earth will he land a top coach? Jed's stressed the importance of having a GM and coach who are "on the same page." But if Baalke can't credibly judge a coach's performance or even his own, why would ANY coach, much less a top one, get on a page with Baalke?

Enough. It's time for Jed to see his franchise for what it is, and stop rewarding the lightweights who've built it. It's time for Jed to open his eyes. It's time for Jed to summon some guts.

In the waning days of his reign in Denver, Mike Shanahan sought some advice. He brought in a proven team-builder and asked him to give him some thoughts on his roster. Shanahan, of course, was no slouch as a team-builder. But the outsider told him his team was awful. Shanahan didn't listen, and he plowed ahead with his roster intact. Shortly thereafter, of course, he was canned.

The outsider's name was Michael Lombardi.

Impressively, Jed himself sought advice from Lombardi, who'd frequently criticized Jed's operation. We can safely assume that Lombardi told him some hard truths, much like the ones he dumped on Shanahan. Unfortunately, it looks like Jed didn't listen either; Lombardi ceded the job to Baalke, suggesting that Jed wasn't "open to new ideas and new challenges." Suggesting, frankly, that Jed was a coward.

This is Jed's last chance. He can't afford to blow it.

Lombardi's got roots in Niners glory. He's well connected to notable big-name West Coast coaches, including Harbaugh, Jed's Plan A. Short of the seemingly unavailable Mike Holmgren, Lombardi's clearly the perfect choice.

If Jed wants our NEXT celebration to have real meaning, THAT'S the choice he'll make.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


39 Comments

  • DaveWilcox
    Come on down... your crow is ready.
    Oct 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Hallelujah!!!!!!!! We got Harbaugh!!!!!!!!!!!! WCO here we come!!!!!!!!
    Jan 7, 2011 at 2:00 PM
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    Response: Three words: Un. Be. Lievable!
  • louie
    Stanford is the only suitor that doesn't seem dysfunctional. And Harbaugh has turned out to be a diva. It's hard to even care anymore. I'm at the point where I'd welcome a young, unknown talented coordinator, if they haven't all been taken over the past couple of seasons. Pittsburgh, Tampa, and KC didn't need a diva coach, but then they have real NFL front office people. The Niners have a 3-ring circus, and talented, young coaches won't want to derail their careers by working for a dysfunctional circus. My ticket rights are still for sale.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 10:03 PM
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    Response: I don't know if I'd call him a diva, Louie. If Jed had hired a strong GM and/or had offered Carroll's deal, Harbaugh would've quietly signed. It was Jed who forced Harbaugh to consider other options, and that's when the lid blew off. But Miami's dropping out is an incredible stroke of luck. If Jed can't outbid Stanford University--I don't take Denver seriously--he's even more pathetic than we'd thought. (Though, to be fair, Stanford does have a stronger front office and a MUCH better quarterback.)
  • Lucky Phil
    It doesn't look good Jeff. I just read an article, Harbaugh is going to Miami. I hope Jed and Baalke learned a lesson from this. On the first date never say "I want to get married, and have lots of children and I'm 39, it has to be soon, real soon, like now, how about now?" The 49ers had everything going for themselves, we were right in his backyard. The 49ers franchise was legendary under Bill Walsh. The best team i have ever seen in the NFL, and Harbaugh knows all this. I'm sure he would like the challenge to take this team back to the elite. But we were so desperate, Harbaugh couldn't run faster or farther. Miami of all places?
    Jan 6, 2011 at 2:58 PM
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  • Lucky Phil
    The Art Of Negotiation. Rule #1. "I have bigger balls than you." Rule #2. "Do I have to prove it?" (No one is going to ask you to prove it. If you ask they will take your word for it. But you always ask.) Rule #3. "If my balls are bigger what do i need you for?" Rule #4. Let the other guy talk. You listen. A Lesson for Jed. Rule #1. Never say money is no object. I'm a fan, you don't need to kiss my ass. I just want a winning team. Rule #2. If you say money is no object, somebody, somewhere is going to say, "Oh yeah?" (Billionaire. Big Cajones. From Miami.) Rule #3. If you say money is no object, the guy you're negotiating with is going to say, "Oh yeah?" Rule #4. Never F$%#ing say MONEY IS NO OBJECT! It is always an object you little nutbag.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 2:30 PM
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    Response: Phil my friend, you should write a book. I'd respectfully add Rule #5: If you're dumb enough to SAY it, you'd better PAY it. If he'd never said it, we might've understood his unwillingness to pay $7 million. But he said it, and then he wasn't willing to pay what he had to. Just another entry in Jed's endless diary of broken promises.
  • Lucy
    Has anyone seen the size of Jim Harbaugh's junk? Jed, pay the man. He's worth it.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 1:37 PM
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    Response: ?!
  • Dan
    Everyone should jump aboard the Josh McDaniels bandwagon before it fills up now that Harbaugh is pretty much off the table. Why wouldn't Jed hire the one coach Singletary actually managed to outsmart this year? It's perfect! That'll give you plenty to complain about Jeff. Jed is your best friend.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 11:39 AM
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    Response: Oh, don't worry, Dan. If Harbaugh indeed is off the table, because Jed hired a lightweight GM and then made a low-ball offer, I'll have plenty to complain about already.
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Jeff, It looks like both facts are the reason. I read a report that Harbaugh gave the Niners a list of the Gm's he would be comfortable with. Even though Baalke was not on the list York went ahead and promoted him anyway. I am shocked. These people are insane. York has no idea and Baalke can't close. So the strategy is to find out exactly what Harbaugh wants and then do the exact opposite. What a great plan.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 9:44 AM
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  • Terry B.
    Once again, Dan has no idea what he's talking about. Looks like some things won't be changing with the new regime.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 8:17 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    I just hope that York and the gang didn't low-ball Harbaugh. If they did then they are even more stupid than I thought. Harbaugh has an ego and if the Niners low-balled him then it left the door wide open for someone like the Fish to swoop in. I guess that Baalke who is supposed to be so great could not close the deal. It makes me wonder if Lombardi was the GM could he have closed Harbaugh? I guess we will never know but I tend to think yes.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 7:48 AM
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    Response: New reports suggest both that Jed DID low-ball Harbaugh and that Harbaugh DIDN'T approve Baalke. If we lose Harbaugh, and if either of those facts is the reason....
  • louie
    There's NOTHING to thank Jed for. Anything he's done that appears to be good is only a late reaction to his previous blunders. If he manages to hire a talented, sought after coach (at last!) I'll gladly give him credit. So far, he's no better than tied as the worst owner in the NFL.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 8:03 PM
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  • Mike
    Ok, I will give you that but wouldn't you agree that we have gotten rid of the biggest problem.... Mike Singletary? Nobody has questioned the talent on the team. Or maybe you do, Idk. I'm willing to give him a year to start assuming the worst. Again, IMO popular hires don't guarantee anything except temporarily pleasing fans. I hope he proves you wrong and brings back our Niners.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM
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    Response: I do think our talent's a bit overrated, but NO DOUBT: no matter how good or bad Baalke is, our biggest problem is already gone. (And, again, I thank Jed for that.)
  • Mike
    I don't have an objection with hiring an outside guy, but I don't think you hire an outside guy just for the sake of doing it. If your guy is in-house and he has been endorsed around the league then what's your objection with it? He's been on the job for the past nine months.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 11:14 AM
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    Response: My objections are all in the article, Mike. If you've been successful, you hire internally. If you've failed, you go outside and hire success. Of course I'm not laying all our misery at Baalke's feet. But he's a Niner, and all he's known is losing. To paraphrase a certain coach, I wanted a proven winner. That's all.
  • Mike
    Don't get me wrong, I want Harbaugh!! Anything else at this point would be a huge disappointment. I just think it's a little soon to judge Baalke before he even hires a HC. You're basically predicting his failure and adding fuel to the fire. Nobody knows - especially not you.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 11:00 AM
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    Response: But you're missing my point, Mike. We shouldn't have to GUESS whether our GM will be any good. (Though I'll admit, your guess is as good as mine.) We should have a PROVEN hand on the wheel. But again, if the hand on the wheel is actually Harbaugh's, then Baalke doesn't much matter at all.
  • Dan
    This is old news. Baalke's been GM for months now. Keep up.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 10:48 AM
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  • Lucky Phil
    Jeff, I think you misunderstood my last comment. I was being sarcastic and did not mean to imply the niners should not hire Lombardi. What i was trying to say is for sources to say Lombardi was a candidate before or after his interview is a lie. (I applaud lombardi for calling out Jed publicly.) Just like Jed saying he will look far and wide to find the best GM candidate. Jed knows he doesn't have time to hire the best GM and wouldn't know how to do it if he tried. Jed is just like Sing. Two guys that don't know how to do their jobs, because they have no experience or qualifications for the job. Every time Jed goes on TV he looks insincere, he wants to do what he says but has no idea how to accomplish it. Just like when Sing was on TV he looked like an idiot, when someone asked him a question "I have to look at the film." Two guys that meant well, but shouldn't be in this line of business.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 10:46 AM
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    Response: Gotcha, Phil. I saw your comment in light of your earlier semi-support for Baalke and assumed you were bashing Lombardi ("what a pile of turd"). Obviously I agree with your actual sentiment. Whether Baalke's any good or not, no one else, including Lombardi, was really a candidate. Though Jed tried so hard to look smart at that press conference, once again he ends up looking dumb (at least until Harbaugh's announced).
  • Mike
    Oh, Geoff.... Mr. Arm-chair GM. I don't really think anyone can judge Baalke either way....yet! You don't know what you're talking about. Just because you hire a "bigger name" or in your opinion a "smarter guy" doesn't guarantee you SQUAT. You're starting to climb back to the top of my list of spoiled brat fans who think they know everything that is best for the 49ers. So, unless you can predict the future, Geoff, why don't you give Baalke some time to put his stamp on this team. You want a coach with no NFL HC experience, but yet you don't want a rookie GM? But if you get the HC with no experience then you're ok with the rookie GM? Trent Baalke IMO could be the next BIG football mind. And you, Mr. Kaplan, are a joke if you think you know otherwise.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 10:18 AM
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    Response: Please, Mike. Harbaugh's got no NFL HC experience, but he's a proven genius. What he did at Stanford, with academic restrictions tying one of his hands, was a friggin' miracle. Baalke, meanwhile, is proven at nothing. MIGHT he be good, despite the lack of any evidence? Sure! But dear God, after all our suffering, why do so many of you have an objection to hiring a PROVEN front-office authority?
  • louie
    It's truly shocking that 49er fans, that are smart enough to read and write, would actually be defending Jed York and his inability to see that his repeated promotions from within (avoidance of experienced heavies) have turned this great franchise into a sad joke.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 9:09 AM
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  • JaxinSac
    First off...when Nolan was coach, and everyone was condemning the "front office," coaching staff, etc., everyone was shocked when McCarthy was selected for the Green Bay job. All of the "no one would hire anyone from the Niners" talk is silly negative baseless speculation, from the Cohn school of journalism. Could it be that if we were to wait around for weeks to interview several more candidates, we likely would have lost out on Harbaugh? Possibly. Could it be that Baalke received endorsements from the likes of Parcells, and others, and turns out to do ok? Could be. Might it be that when the Baalke/Harbaugh pairing works, Jed will be given kudos for going out and getting his man, the most highly sought after coach on the market? Again, could be. Point is, no one knows yet, so relax, and quit crying over something that in the grand scheme of your life should be pretty unimportant.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 9:03 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    On the GM search here's what we know. First, you can't believe anything Jed says. He claimed that he was going to let the GM hire the coach yet he obviously had Harbaugh targeted from the start. He said he was going to conduct a detailed search for a GM when he had Baalke in mind from the beginning. Jed just hired a yes man, Baalke is not going to have any power in this organization. The Niner front office is still as dysfunctional as always. Another day, same crap. What we don't know is why didn't York just hire Baalke from the start? Why all this waste of time? The other question is, Jed claims that he got advice from Parcells and Eddie D, I can't imagine them giving York the advice to hire Baalke. Why didn't York take their advice? Great leaders are secure enough to hire above them. York does not have the inner confidence and must hire at the same level as he is, thus continuing to make the same mistakes. I, like you, will feel better if these Bozos hire Harbaugh but even so I am still troubled by this dysfunctional front office and as you point out hiring Harbaugh is easier said than done and Jed says a lot but does little. I really enjoy your insights Jeff. Keep up the good work.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 8:37 AM
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    Response: Thanks, Dallas. No doubt, this GM search was a sham. Jed told us he was looking for strength and experience, all the while planning to hire, once again, the unthreatening guy whose only qualification was that he was here. That's terribly, terribly disappointing. BUT, the good news, in a twisted way, is that this supposed GM-first structure seems like it's ALSO a sham. It's becoming clear that Jed already sought out Harbaugh, Jed already got Harbaugh's approval of Baalke, and Jed already promised Harbaugh the real power in the organization. Like I said below, I don't see why Jed couldn't just be honest about putting Harbaugh first, but if that's the reality, it's a good one. Harbaugh's exactly what we want: the hottest WCO disciple on the face of the earth. If he's got the power, that's fine by me; that way, if Baalke can't give him the front-office support he needs, Harbaugh can just get rid of him.
  • Terry B.
    Jeff hit the nail on the head with that last response to MD. Here's a question for the Baalke supporters. If any of the other 31 franchises were in the market for a GM, how many do you think would even grant an interview to someone from the 49ers front office, let alone hire one? Unless you're kidding yourself, the answer is zero. So we just hired as our GM someone no other NFL franchise would even consider worthy of an interview. For a comparison, let's look at how Kansas City went about getting a GM two years ago. They identified the top personnel guy below GM from the most successful franchise of the last decade. When KC hired Pioli, he was the consensus top candidate on the market. Two years later, KC has gone from dregs to division title. Compare that to our search. Jed just promotes someone from our dysfunctional front office, while only interviewing candidates no one else was talking about. This way Baalke wouldn't look as bad by comparison. Jed made no attempt--zero--to interview the top personnel guys from the best teams. For instance, Eric DeCosta of Baltimore is widely considered to be one of the top GM candidates. Did we even ask to interview him? No. Why? Because there is no way Jed could claim with a straight face that Baalke is a better candidate than DeCosta. So let's forget Lombardi for a moment. Here's the sad and awful truth, and why this franchise will always be a failure under Jed's leadership. Jed had an opening for one of the most important positions in an NFL franchise, and made no attempt to find the best possible person for the job. Instead, he just rewarded mediocrity. Our only hope is that Harbaugh is a good enough coach to overcome Jed's failings.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 5:48 AM
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  • Edd
    Did it ever occur to you that Harbaugh wants a weak GM? The decision to hire Baalke is not that bad, I thought last year's draft was just what we needed. I am much more concerned with getting a strong HC. The next HC we get will no doubt call the personnel decisions anyway. Lighten up, I don't see gloom & doom.......yet.
    Jan 5, 2011 at 5:19 AM
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    Response: I sincerely think you make a good point, Edd. The ONLY way the Baalke decision can be justified is if this notion of a GM-first structure is a total farce. If it's actually gonna be a coach-first structure, with Harbaugh playing Walsh and Baalke playing McVay, I'll take it, since that'd place a proven guy at the top. But if it's gonna be a coach-first structure, why not be up front about it? Why not hire Harbaugh and let HIM pick his front-office guy? This would allow us to get the coach we want but also allow him to pick Lombardi or wait to speak to guys who are now with teams that actually, you know, WIN. But because of this GM-first charade, we once again just look like we're confused, lying, or both.
  • JaxinSac
    I'm still confused as to how Lombardi is credited with building a superbowl team. Also, as discussed below, experience or even superbowl success (Parcells and Holmgren in Miami and Cleveland) doesn't equal success. You're throwing a tantrum over Baalke because you didn't like the way the search went down, Jed didn't make you feel warm and cozy. McVay was a rookie as well when he was brought on, so there are all kinds of data points you can refer to. Quit fueling the crying and moaning that is making webzone nearly unreadable.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 9:44 PM
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  • MD
    So the last five years Lombardi spent with the Raiders, they never won more than five games a season. And if he was in charge of college player evaluations, and liaison to Al Davis, it sounds like the players he was a big part of bringing in to the Raiders were not all that great. He had that resume for the last four years while he's been out of football. But when the Falcons went looking for a new GM, they went with a guy in Dimitroff. A guy who was basically a scout all his career before getting his shot. Dimitroff's resume looks similar to Baalke's. Look at the early success he's had with the Falcons. So forgive me if I don't buy in to your doom and gloom scenario you've insisted on painting by going with someone like Trent rather than Lombardi.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 9:29 PM
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    Response: Good comparison, MD. I see no difference at all between taking a new GM from the New England Patriots of 2002-07 and taking a new GM from the San Francisco 49ers of 2005-10. Plenty of teams would do the former, despite the candidate's limited experience. How many teams would do the latter? One. Only one.
  • Lucky Phil
    Happy New Year Jeff. Baalke is here to stay. "The team narrowed its search Tuesday to Baalke and former Raiders general manager Michael Lombardi," the sources said. Yeah, right. The guy that right after his meeting (lombardi) said this interview is a joke and your owner basically is a liar for having interviews for this job. Please, what a pile of turd! If Jed interviewed me and i told him go f yourself, would he give me an assistant GM position?
    Jan 4, 2011 at 8:45 PM
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    Response: Phil, I don't care how nice a guy Lombardi is (though it turns out, of course, what he said was correct). He was the smartest, most proven guy available, and once again Jed meekly decided to promote from within his flimsy organization. I truly don't see how anyone can defend that. But if Harbaugh decides to come aboard anyway, at least we'll have a proven coach. And trust me, after what we've been through, I'll celebrate that.
  • 49ER2424
    What has Lombardi done in his career that makes him the expert GM candidate?
    Jan 4, 2011 at 8:12 PM
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    Response: Again, not that it matters now, but see below.
  • MD
    Not sure what the fascination with Lombardi is?? So he told Shanahan his roster wasn't that good. Whoopdidoo... I could have told him the same thing at the time. Like others have pointed out, Lombardi hasn't been successful as an exec. So what makes him better for the position than Baalke?? The fact that he's not already part of the organization?? A lot of GM's have been scouts at one point or another. That's how they become good at evaluating talent. And getting experience with handling contracts and FA's is what you pick up along the way through the years of working just under GM's. Things Baalke has gotten over the years. Let's not write him off just because he's been a part of this organization for a couple years.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 7:22 PM
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    Response: Not that it matters now, but you should read up on the guy, MD. As SMARTER others have pointed out, Lombardi HAS been successful, if you call building a Super Bowl team a success. Plus, if you've ever heard him talk, you know how brilliant (if egomaniacal) he is. For what it's worth, his wikipedia resume is as follows. You tell me if it "makes him better for the position than Baalke." 1999 to 2007 – Oakland Raiders: Hired by owner Al Davis to become Senior Personnel Executive working closely with the owner on all football matters. Liaison with head coach and owner; responsible for pro and college player evaluations; and handled veteran contracts. 1998 – Philadelphia Eagles: Promoted to Director of Pro Personnel after serving as a consultant to team owner Jeffrey Lurie in 1997. Managed the professional personnel department and advised owner and chief financial officer on all player contracts and salary cap issues. 1996 – St. Louis Rams: Prepared advisory reports for ownership during head coach search. 1987 to 1996 – Cleveland Browns: Joined team as Pro Personnel Director in 1987. Promoted to Director of Player Personnel in 1992 where he worked under head coach Bill Belichick and was responsible for all college and pro personnel decisions; managed salary cap and player personnel issues; oversaw staff of 13 college and pro scouts; handled all player contracts and advised head coach on all football matters. 1984 to 1987 – San Francisco 49ers: Hired as Area Scout where he was responsible for the west region from Texas to California. Reported to head coach Bill Walsh and assistant coaches in all matters of college scouting and supplied information for use during the NFL draft.
  • Terry B.
    Lombardi built team. But it's a moot point now. Indeed, it was always a moot point. Jed was always going to hire Baalke.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 6:27 PM
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    Response: Well, now it's Harbaugh or bust. If Harbaugh, a coach who could step into any job he wants, is willing to take a job where his fate's in the hands of the likes of Trent Baalke, I'll be simply amazed. Thrilled, but amazed.
  • Chris
    Terry B. - Was that a Lombardi built team or a Bruce Allen built team? I can't remember.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 5:08 PM
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  • Johnny
    Everything seems on point to me except for the part where you say this is Jed's last chance. If he doesn't get it right then what? Nothing. People still buy tickets, merchandise, etc...so until that stops and he REALLY sees a decrease in his wallet, he's not going to do what needs to be done. There are a few different choices in this situation that could fit well and he will undoubtedly make the wrong choice because it's convenient... Glory days and winning ways are dead and gone until jed is...well dead or gone haha
    Jan 4, 2011 at 3:37 PM
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  • Lucky Phil
    Jeff, I agree with everything you say about Jed, but I think Baalke could be a good GM. The problem the Niners have is they have to rush to make a decision on a GM so they can move forward to get the HC. It's obvious to everyone that since Jed waited until the end of the yr. he is going with Baalke all the way. Making an embarrassment of himself interviewing GM hopefuls because he needs to adhere to the Rooney rule. Lombardi called him out last week, after his interview, saying it's all a sham. How many guys interviewing for a GM position after the interview say the owner is insincere for going through the charade of an interview process? Ultimately, I have no idea who would be a good GM, I think the HC is the important piece. The HC will be making the decisions, the GM just has to hammer out the contracts and make the deals. I personally would like to see Jeff Fisher come to SF. Longest tenured coach in the NFL, and would probably bring with him a coaching crew that has plenty of NFL experience. There would be no questions with this guy, unlike Harbaugh (outstanding college coach but unknown in the NFL). It looks like Baalke/Harbaugh will be GM and HC. New roles for both, I'll hope for the best.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 2:36 PM
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  • Terry B.
    Boy that Jaxinsac is right on. Except for putting together a Super Bowl team, Lombardi hasn't experienced success in any NFL exec role.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM
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  • mike49ersgo
    My friend you have hit the nail on the head. I am a long-time 49er fan, and frankly the Yorks have destroyed this team. To the point that I have to temper my expectations. Jed York is NOT the savior, he is a meddling neophyte who has no clue. But the danger is that he sees himself as an up and coming NFL executive. Promoting Baalke is more of the same. Nothing is different, NOTHING. Same management structure, same managers different titles. I do not care if Harbaugh comes or not. Hoping for the best and expecting the same old same old.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM
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    Response: I'll admit that if Baalke lands Harbaugh, I'll be plenty excited (though not as excited as I'd be with Lombardi and Harbaugh). But I can't come up with a logical basis for thinking he will.
  • Marco
    Lucky Sperm Jed has got the York retard gene in him! No 29 year old is qualified to pick a GM and head coach. The Yorks have turned the 49ers into the west coast version of the Bengals. 6-10 type seasons will be the rule as long as the Yorks are in charge. 49er fans, DO NOT RENEW SEASON TICKETS! Driving the Yorks out is the ONLY solution.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 10:44 AM
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  • louie
    Excellent article, again. Making a real/firm suggestion (Lombardi) also deserves much credit. But as those of us in the half-empty crowd can attest to, not a chance in hell Jed York can/will pull this thing out of the crapper. It doesn't matter how much common sense he expresses to the fans, or that he's exposed to from people he should listen to, he'll NEVER bring in people who will make him irrelevant to the football side of the business. My excellent, 30-year season tickets (2 on the 47 yard line/27th row) are for sale. I'm done with paying a few grand a year for Jed's toy.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 9:05 AM
    0
  • jaxinsac
    Congrats. This piece is as compelling as a tim k column. Full of stating the obvious and inaccurate assumptions. I won't bother to correct you on your trying to place the blame on baalke picking the roster for the last 6 yrs, not worth the time. I won't bring up the fact that lombardi hasn't experienced success in any nfl exec role. I'll simply point to the fact that you know less about what you're talking about than any of the yorks, people who are actually in the business. Rings and experience don't equal success. Just ask miami (parcells) or the browns (holmgren). Hiring someone is always a crap shoot, all you can do is do your homework (consult uncle eddie, parcells, the krafts, etc.) then take your shot. Just next time, hope jed doesn't wait years to correct the mistake if it turns out to be one.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 8:52 AM
    0
  • 49er Ryan
    Hoping you're right, Jeff. I don't support the Baalke move either ... let's hope Lombardi gets it.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 8:50 AM
    0
  • overthemiddle
    What qualifications does one have to become a GM? Experience? How do you get experience without performing? For your second reason he has only been in charge for nine months, hardly enough time to do much. You can say the same for hiring Harbaugh, he has no NFL experience as a head coach. However your third reason is right on. I think most quality head coaches will shy away from the Niners if too much of the front office is the same. What I am trying to say is there is no guarantee that whoever we bring in will be better than what we have in the front office. The head coach will be tied to the GM and they both better be on the same side of the ball. The niners can win even with Alex leading the team. There is enough talent on the team with the right leaders. We haven't had a real good leader since Bill Walsh. By the way, just to throw a name out for the head coaching job - Dennis Green.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 8:45 AM
    0
  • Terry B.
    It could be worse. We could be taking a page out of Denver's playbook and making Joe Montana executive vice president of football operations.
    Jan 4, 2011 at 8:43 AM
    0

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