San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York met with the media on Monday to discuss the state of the franchise and the direction in which it is going. At this point, his words mean little and his actions are going to be the true measurement.
Aside from a whopping use of the word “culture,” San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York and his press conference seemed to have little to offer when he met with members of the media on January 2 at 1 p.m. ET.
York’s presser came only hours after the Niners dismissed general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly following the team’s Week 17 25-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Overall, the 49ers finished 2-14 — tying a franchise-low record — and were largely in need of a clean slate.
That slate was one of the topics on which York elaborated. You can watch the entire press conference replay here, courtesy of the team’s website. But York didn’t exactly stray from the cliches and loose phrases we’ve so often come to expect from the team’s CEO.
“I want to let the fans know that I apologize for a 2-14 season,” York said at the beginning. “I apologize for being back here again and making a change, but I think it’s very important that we reestablish a championship culture.”
In fact, “culture” was a term York eluded to on more than just a few occasions — 16 times, according to this montage from KNBR 680:
Jed York really, really wants to reestablish a championship culture with the San Francisco 49ers. Really. pic.twitter.com/YxfOaN8lY2
Feb 1, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers chief executive officer Jed York during the Super Bowl 50 host committee press conference at the Moscone Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Actions Mean More than Words
At this point, few of York’s words are going to have any meaning. It’s been three-plus seasons in which controversy and leaks have dominated that said culture.
York, not surprisingly, dodged a lot of these questions to the best of his ability. He even admitted there was going to be nothing he could say that would adequately answer for the situation the team now finds itself in.
And, of course, Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat pressed York into trying to admit the handling of former head coach Jim Harbaugh at the end of 2014 was a mistake.
York dodged the question, naturally, trying to focus more on the future and not play “revisionist history.”
The problem for York is his press conferences carry little weight, especially when the on-field results speak for themselves. Fans have grown tired of hearing the excuses. They’re sick of the references back to York’s uncle, former owner Eddie DeBartolo.
They grew tired of York’s “accountability” clause. And they’ll probably grow tired of “culture” just the same.
What York needs now is something the team has needed for two years — vision. And it doesn’t seem as if any kind of vision is in place.
What Now for the 49ers?
York also noted he would be directly involved with the search for both a new head coach and general manager.
While not naming names, the CEO did mention a team of individuals who will be supplying input.
OK, that’s great. But there won’t be any Vice President of Football Operations in charge of handling the football-related stuff for which York doesn’t seem qualified at all. That’s a bit concerning.
And instead of selecting a general manager first, to then choose the head coach, York also pointed out the team would be flexible in making this approach.
San Francisco has already started the reaching-out process, compiled in this list tracker available on 49ers.com.
The team’s openings might not be as unattractive as one might think. San Francisco should have close to $82 million in cap space, combined with this year’s rollover, as well as a completely clean slate atop the organization.