San Francisco 49ers Fandom250 Snub A Result Of Jed York’s Mismanagement

Oct 18, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers fans celebrate after a 49ers score against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Levi
Oct 18, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers fans celebrate after a 49ers score against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Levi /

The San Francisco 49ers had a vibrant, vocal fanbase not all that long ago. But today, thanks to Jed York’s mismanagement, they don’t even have one of the best 250 fandoms.

Oh, how times have changed. If FanSided’s Fandom250 had come out just a few years ago, there is no doubt the San Francisco 49ers would have had a strong ranking. After all, they were a team in the midst of three straight trips to the NFC Championship Game as well as a Super Bowl appearance. The fandom was alive, well, vibrant, and healthy.

After all, the 49ers had one of the games exciting young quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick and one of the league’s more dynamic coaches in Jim Harbaugh. They had an offense that could put up some points and a defense that could choke a team out.

The future was looking really good for one of the league’s most storied franchises – and then Jed York happened.

Now, York has been around for a little while now. He’s been in San Francisco’s executive power structure for almost a decade now. You just have to love nepotism, don’t you? Back when Jed first came to power, the 49ers were a sub-.500 team that was struggling, but had some promising pieces. The future didn’t look entirely bleak – not like it does right now.

But then in 2011, York made the first – and possibly only – smart move of his tenure. He brought in Jim Harbaugh to coach the team. Harbaugh took those promising pieces that dotted San Francisco’s roster and pulled them together into one cohesive unit.

A cohesive unit that won 13 games and advanced to the NFC title game in his first season at the helm. It was a seven game improvement over the previous season – tops in the NFL that year.

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Things were looking up in a big way. Following Harbaugh’s 13 win debut, he led his team to 11 wins in 2012, but more importantly, to a berth in the Super Bowl. They narrowly lost to John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens, but again, this team looked like a force to be reckoned with.

2013 brought 12 more wins and another trip to the NFC title game and another narrow loss to the Seahawks. Given how well they were trending upward – 36 wins, three trips to the NFC title game, and a trip to the Super Bowl in Harbaugh’s first three seasons – you had to figure that it was only a matter of time before Harbaugh and the 49ers got over that hump and won a Super Bowl title.

And then York, with the assistance of his GM Trent Baalke – who depending on whom you ask, is York’s lackey/yes-man, or really is just that incompetent – undertook a campaign to cut Harbaugh off at the knees. According to journalist Tim Kawakami, York and Baalke were the sources for a number of comments and articles specifically designed to neuter Harbaugh.

The problem, of course, was that Harbaugh was getting the lion’s share of the credit for the team’s run of success while York and Baalke, like a couple of awkward teenage boys that nobody wants to hang out with at the school dance, were left by themselves on the sidelines and out of the fun.

The problem was that York and Baalke wanted some of the attention that Harbaugh was getting – and weren’t getting it. So, they embarked on a scorched earth campaign that impacted the team as a whole, in a very detrimental fashion.

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  • Despite the franchise having so much success, Harbaugh was having to field questions about the rift with the front office, as well as about his job security, as the team got off to a mediocre start in 2014. Amid absolute internal chaos and turmoil, the 49ers finished the year 8-8 and Harbaugh was gone about five minutes after the final whistle of that final game.

    Following York and Baalke pushing Harbaugh out the door, they appointed Jim Tomsula to be San Francisco’s next head coach. No doubt, they expected that as a member of his coaching staff, Tomsula would be able to build upon Harbaugh’s success and show the world just how smart they are, as well as show that it wasn’t the coach responsible for the team’s success.

    It was the hiring of Tomsula that made York say one of the stupidest things on record to date. He compared the hiring of Tomsula to the firing of Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson and the hiring of Steve Kerr. You know, because it was Kerr who finally got Golden State over that hump and to a championship.

    Which is exactly what he expected Tomsula to do – well, that and say yes to anything and everything he and/or Baalke asked him to do.

    But boy, the joke was sure on them, wasn’t it?

    Under Tomsula’s “leadership,” the 49ers regressed, finishing 5-11 in 2015. Displeased that Tomsula couldn’t make them look like the smartest kids in class – and with the shadow of Harbaugh still looming large – Tomsula took the fall and found himself out of a job.

    This year, the York/Baalke brain trust brought in Chip Kelly to turn things around – and forever banish the ghost of Harbaugh. Yeah, that hasn’t really worked out either. Under Kelly, the 49ers have regressed even further and are currently sitting at 1-11 on the year.

    These 49ers are currently slugging it out with the Cleveland Browns for the top spot in next year’s NFL Draft.

    And now, one has to wonder if Kelly will be the next chip to fall as San Francisco is looking at needing a complete overhaul of their entire roster – and perhaps, their front office as well. With public sentiment vehemently anti-York and anti-Baalke, a string of failed draft picks, and an unbelievable lack of success over the last two years thanks to a roster devoid of real talent, San Francisco’s fanbase has understandably drifted away. And those that remain are very vocal in their displeasure with the current state of affairs.

    And all of this because York and Baalk threw a hissy fit for not geting the attention they believed they were entitled to.

    As a result of this lack of success – or even a coherent game plan and vision for this team moving forward – the 49ers failed to slot at all in FanSided’s Fandom250. Sure, a lot of other NFL teams failed to make the cut and aren’t represented on the Fandom250 list, but this is the San Francisco 49ers. They are rich in history, tradition, and championships.

    Their brand is known worldwide, and they have an abundance of Hall of Famers. The 49ers have enjoyed a reputation as one of the league’s gold standards. The type of organization that should be admired and emulated. The type of team who has always enjoyed the support of a tremendous fanbase.

    But not today. Not in the midst of two seasons whose combined win totals, won’t come close to matching Harbaugh’s worst season.

    Next: Fansided's Fandom250 Rankings Revealed!

    Make no mistake, fans have turned away from this franchise in droves. The passionate support for this tradition-rich organization has, by and large, dried up. It is certainly a less vocal, less fiery, and less – present – group of fans these days.

    And the only people they have to thank for that is themselves. The fact that the 49ers have fallen so far from grace and on such hard times that they can’t crack the top 250 fandoms in the world is a cryin’ shame.

    And the only people York and Baalke have to blame for that drop in passion and the death of their fandom is themselves.