From 2003 to 2010, the San Francisco 49ers failed to have a single winning season. During that eight-year stretch, the Niners also fired three head coaches and disappeared from the ranks of the NFC elite – after winning five Super Bowls and going to the playoffs in 18 of the previous 22 seasons.
Then the 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh as head coach and everything changed. San Francisco went to the conference championship game in each of his first three seasons and came within a play of winning a sixth Super Bowl.
So, when the 49ers decided to part ways with Harbaugh after an injury-plagued 8-8 season in 2014 – and go with the inexperienced Jim Tomsula – many 49ers fans were angry.
And that anger toward the team’s front office of CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke – who by all reports were determined to push Harbaugh out the door – continues to bubble up.
This week it surfaced again, when York did a radio interview, touching on a lot of topics, and said this, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:
“We’re trying to win a Super Bowl. We haven’t been able to do that. And I think what we’re trying to do is build a team that focuses on our core strengths. I think we got away from that a little bit. I think we tried to do too much and be something that we weren’t. I think you’re going to see us get back to the basics, get back to letting our players go out and make plays … You look at our offense last year. It wasn’t where it should have been. I think we have better talent than what our results showed.”
While York made a solid point about the 49ers offense going off track in 2014 – it indeed wasn’t as effective as it had been in 2013 and 2012 – his comment about the franchise getting away from its “core strengths” under Harbaugh rankled plenty of fans.
After all, Harbaugh’s teams were far more successful than any others in the Jed York era. Harbaugh's core strength was that he was a winner.
Wrote one fan about York, on the Chronicle website: “Can I get some of what he is smoking? Almost won the Super Bowl and came real close to getting in two other times. What a joke he is. Who is buying his ridiculous BS about Harbaugh?”
Over the past two days on Twitter, 49ers fans have bashed York continuously for his “core strengths” reference. Many point to York being the problem, not Harbaugh. Wrote one: “How to destroy a football franchise? Let Jed York run it.” Wrote another: “What were our core strengths before Jim? Losing?” And another: “Is Jed York really this stupid?”
The 49ers are in the midst of a horrible offseason, made especially painful because the 49ers under Harbaugh had again become an elite NFC franchise for three-plus seasons. The comment from York just rubbed salt in the wounds of fans still angry about losing a proven head coach.
Many fans on Twitter echoed the message of one fan who posted this Thursday morning:
“Jed York needs to stop talking.”