Eddie DeBartolo: Give Jed York a Chance

The legendary Eddie DeBartolo Jr. believes his nephew, Jed York, will turn things around for the San Francisco 49ers. DeBartolo compared the current criticism of York to the difficulties and vitriol DeBartolo faced in his first years as an owner.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr. still believes his nephew, Jed York, has what it takes to be a successful owner in the NFL. Talking with Cam Inman of The Mercury NewsDeBartolo discussed his own struggles early in his brilliant tenure. He went as far as to claim he faced more criticism than Jed currently does.

“I think I had it rougher than Jed. When I came to Candlestick Park a couple of times, I mean I had people throw things at me.” – Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

While this claim is hard to corroborate or deny, the Hall-of-Famer did have his fair share of struggles. To this point, the 49ers only nine-game losing streak came in 1978, DeBartolo’s second year as owner.

York and the 2016 iteration look set to match that feat on Sunday when they host the New England Patriots.

DeBartolo has a point: things can look dismal before the dawn. But simply saying this ignores a lot of the facts as well.

DeBartolo inherited an awful team, yes. His team struggled initially and it took time to turn the 49ers into a winner. It will take time to do so again, but there are significant differences between York’s start and that of DeBartolo.

Jed York was handed the keys to the franchise in 2008. A couple years later he hired Jim Harbaugh away from Stanford and success ensued. He seemed to be following his father’s advice to the letter: “Surround yourself with good people, give them the responsibility and autonomy to let them do their work, and then just stand back and let them do it.”

Then he blew it. He got involved and could not stand back and let Harbaugh win.

If York wants to see the 49ers succeed, he can’t pretend to be Jerry Jones. He needs to create an atmosphere that attracts good coaches and players. Right now, that is not the case.

Perhaps DeBartolo is right, who’s to say Jed won’t turn things around? Then again, maybe the Hall-of-Famer is simply supporting his nephew and Godson.

You can decide which hypothesis makes more sense to you.

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