by Daisy Barringer
After spending the second half of this dreadful NFL season rooting for the 49ers to lose, it was nice yesterday to finally be able to root for them to win. I hate the bratty Seattle Seahawks and their cud-chewing coach almost as much as I hate our President-elect (which, duh: is a lot). Plus, the number two draft pick was solidified, and with rumors at kickoff of Chip Kelly’s imminent firing, it would have been nice to see him stick it to Jed with a win over our division rivals.
Alas, the team on the field was still the same sucktastic 49ers, so we lost to the Seahawks 25-23 and ended this joke of a season with two wins, 14 losses, and less dignity than the girl I saw walking barefoot on the sidewalk in her party dress New Year's morning, heels in hand and head held low. (For the record: I’m not slut-shaming here. I’m “Why did you do the walk of shame when you could have called an Uber? Did you lose your phone too?”-shaming, and also I'm walking-shoeless-on-the-streets-of-San Francisco-shaming.)
The point of yesterday, however, isn’t that the 49ers lost. We were all expecting that. We were also expecting at least one person to be fired. Instead, we got two. The bad news is that one of those people wasn’t Jed York. Of course, it helps a little that one of them was GM Trent Baalke, who confirmed his departure before the game, while also bizarrely complimenting the fans (“The Faithful has been great”) all of who would have happily burned him at the stake if given the chance. Good riddance.
As you know by now, the other person let go by Jed York was head coach Chip Kelly who, yes, was a total disappointment, but probably didn’t need to be fired immediately after the game. Stay with me for one second so you can see where I’m going with this.
First of all, for the record, I never wanted Chip Kelly. I wasn’t impressed with what he did with the Eagles and I didn’t think he had a chance in hell of coming to Santa Clara and turning this team around. Still, the 49ers hired him, gave him a sinking ship, and then were surprised when he couldn’t make it float again? No coach in the NFL could have produced a winning season with this roster.
Yesterday, Jed York offered this explanation for the firings: “We all expected to see this team progress and develop as the season went on, but unfortunately that did not happen. That is why now is the time to find a new direction for this team.” I don’t know how a team that’s been decimated by injuries was supposed to make any progress, but there you have it.
The thing is: It doesn’t look great for this organization that it’s so willing to fire head coaches after just one season. This is the first time an NFL team has fired coaches after one season for consecutive years since 1978 (also the 49ers, by the way). What coach in his right mind is now going to want to take on this challenge knowing that if he doesn’t produce immediate results, he’ll likely get the axe, even if York promises him it won’t happen? After all, it was less than a year ago that York guaranteed, “Chip’s going to be here for a long time. Period.”
So what we have now is a situation where pretty much no NFL coach worth his salary is going to want to come to the Niners. But we also just let go of a dude to whom we owe a ton of money. So why not just wait to see what the new GM wants to do? If he wants Chip Kelly gone, then, yes, of course, he has to be fired. But what does it hurt to keep him around for another couple of weeks to find out? Either way, the 49ers now owe recent coaches something like $69 million. Sure it would have been a little mean to string Chip Kelly along, but since when does Jed York care about being fair and kind to his staff? (Since never.)
Anyway, it’s all for naught now because Baalke is gone (hallelujah!) and Kelly is gone (also, ultimately a good thing even if I disagree with the way it happened), and Jed York has the chance to try to right this ship once and for all.
Of course, the joke’s on us. Because as long as Jed York is at the helm of this team (sorry for the awful ship metaphors; it’s been a long season), we’re doomed. Jed York is not only unqualified to make the important, strategic decisions needed to get us back into the playoffs, he’s a petulant child who blames everyone else for his mistakes and whose PR strategy to make himself look good is to leak stories to the press. It’s pathetic. HE is pathetic. And despite how much he’s embarrassed himself, his staff, and the players with his terrible decisions and behavior, it doesn’t appear that his actions will ever be enough for his mommy and daddy to say, “Enough!” and relieve him of his job as CEO.
Because they don’t care.
As I’ve said before, Jed York swindled us all. He took our money, built his $1.3 billion stadium, and even though we now see the Emperor’s New Clothes are a complete lie, he’s perfectly fine being naked and disgraced in all of us. Because don’t forget: he didn’t just play the part of the vain King. He also played the part of the dishonest weavers. Unfortunately for the season ticket holders, we are the ones who couldn’t see it was all a huge lie. And now it’s too late.
Which leaves me with one looming question: Do I renew my season tickets? The 49ers already have the thousands of dollars I was forced to pay for my Stadium Builder’s License. That money is long gone. I don’t imagine I could recoup any of it as it’s not like season tickets are in high demand. Not when you can go to pretty much every game for less than face value. But is it worth it to keep paying for the tickets?
Being a season ticket holder means believing, on some level, that you will want to go to 10 games a season. Had you asked me three years ago if I thought there would ever be a time in my life where I didn’t want to do that, I would have told you that you’re crazy. Turns out the crazy person was me. And everyone else who believed that Levi’s would live up to the hype. And that Jed York gave a shit about more than money.
I love this team. I love watching them play (I mean, not this year, but usually). And I love being a 49ers fan. But I hate Levi’s Stadium. And I hate what the Yorks have done to this team. And I just don’t think I can keep giving them money to weave suits of finery now that I know we’ve all been duped.
We don’t know yet who Jed York will hire as general manager. Or who will be brave enough to accept the job as head coach. We know that Jed York has promised we are going to “do everything in our arsenal to win.” But more important, we also know not to believe anything he says. That he may want to do that, but that he doesn’t have the wherewithal to actually do it. That all he does is make things way, way worse. And that he’s not going anywhere ever because as he said in his press conference today, “I own this football team. You don’t dismiss owners. I’m sorry that’s the facts and that’s the case.”
Try to get past the fact that he’s a cocky dick for just one second. Because Jed also claims he wants to “re-establish” the culture of this 49ers team. That would be amazing. That’s all anyone wants. Unfortunately, in order for this team to ever be good again, the thing that needs to be re-established is the CEO. And Jed said it himself: That’s never going to happen. So basically, we’re screwed.
It’s a seriously depressing time to be a 49ers fan. The good thing about that is that the farther we fall, the better it will feel when we’re finally on top again. I just hope I live to see it.
Thank you for reading. Have an amazing off-season. Go Chiefs, I guess.