49ers’ Front Office Needs a History Lesson


We, die-hard supporters of the 49ers, are facing tough times: Jim Harbaugh has one foot out the door; Colin Kaepernick has happy feet and has regressed as a signal caller; Greg Roman hasn’t designed a quality play since 2012; Vernon Davis has less receiving touchdowns than J.J. Watt and Frank Gore‘s reign is coming to an end.

There’s more disarray surrounding this team, but the above facts clearly state my point: the 49ers are trending down as football team.

Everyone has their favorite target in which to wag the finger, but I firmly believe the problems facing this team were created by the front office – primarily Jed York and Trent Baalke.

Baalke’s a smart man who has a voracious appetite for all things football; York was birthed into glory like a Roman Emperor. It doesn’t matter how they arrived at their current post, but it does matter how they govern themselves while in it, as each poor decision sends a ripple throughout the now defunct franchise.

I’m here to tell you that neither of them understands history, and this blatant ignorance will push the 49ers into decades worth of sub par play.

Peruse the following table. If you don’t see the point I’m driving home, read on for further corroboration:

[table id=32 /]

1.)  In 1979, William Henry Walsh took over a 49ers franchise considered to be the worst in all of football. The 49ers went 2-14 in Walsh’s first season; 6-10 in his second. If you eliminate the strike-shortened 1982 season, Walsh averaged nearly 12 wins (11.57) per season until he retired in 1988.

Those privy to football consider him one of – if not THE – greatest coaches in NFL history. Legends, however, are judged on what they leave behind…

2.)  George Seifert is the most successful coach in 49ers’ history, but anybody familiar with the franchise knows that he simply maintained the standard set down by the enigmatic Walsh.

Walsh lurked behind-the-scenes throughout Seifert’s six-year tenure and was widely considered the man in charge, even though he passed the helm on to his longtime assistant in ’89. Seifert was an incredible coach in his own right, but he was a byproduct of Walsh’s genius-level football intelligence.

Final Thoughts

I’ve discussed this topic before, yet nobody blinked an eye. Jim Harbaugh is not the problem with this franchise. It is and has been York and Baalke. 

Name a successful team throughout NFL history and I’ll counter with a coach that was the cornerstone of each franchise’s success: Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Belichick and Walsh led their teams with autonomy. All of these coaches encountered derision from their superiors at one point, but a common ground was found because winning is all that matters in this league.

Think Jerry Jones doesn’t realize his error in driving Johnson out of Dallas? Think Belichick would let Robert Kraft tell him how to run his team? Think Eddie Debartolo regrets showing faith in Walsh by backing off after wanting him gone following two shoddy seasons?

The answer to these questions is a definitive “no,” yet we’re all so eager to ditch Harbaugh.

The NFL has more witchhunts in its history than Salem, and I, for one, sympathize for Harbaugh. He’s a powerful man who believes in himself, yet we belittle him for showing faith in himself and in his staff.

Go ahead, drive Harbaugh out of

San Francisco

Santa Clara. Maybe I’ll be able to afford a ticket as support dwindles for a franchise that’s had the blueprint for success in its grubby paws for over 30-years, a prototype that continues to be ignored by the front office bigwigs.

Harbaugh will rise from the ashes. Will the 49ers be so lucky?