49ers State of the Franchise Open Thread

FOOCH'S NOTE 10:05PM: At the moment, your best bet for watching the State of the Franchise video is to go to the 49ers home page.  Then on the center-right side of the page you'll see videos and a "Play Video" button.  When you click on that it'll go through an advertisement and then on to the video itself.  Things kick off at about the 1:45 mark with a highlight video.  Mike Singletary is introduced with a solid video at the 43:35 mark.  My favorite part of the evening.

The 49ers are holding their first ever State of the Franchise tonight from 7:00 to 8:30pm.  The address/Q&A will take place at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center.  As I am not a season ticket holder, I did not get a chance at tickets to the event.  The 49ers will be webcasting the event at 49ers.com and I do plan on watching it.

For those who are unable to watch it (and don't feel like checking out whatever archived version at the site tomorrow), I thought I'd live blog the event.  It won't be super in-depth, but as important points are addressed I'll certainly post them here.  The event appears to be scheduled as follows (with what they'll discuss):

  • MC for the entire event: new radio voice Ted Robinson
  • Team President Jed York - His new role and the future of the franchise; the hiring process of Mike Singletary and why he's the man for the job
  • COO Andy Dolich - The "total fan experience" and enhancements at Candlestick Park
  • GM Scott McCloughan - The NFL Combine, free agency, the draft and the current makeup of the roster
  • Mike Singletary - His new coaching staff, a recap of 2008 and a look ahead to 2009
  • Ted Robinson - Will open the floor to questions from fans - There will be a combination of pre-submitted questions and live questions from the audience

I look at this as a glorified pep rally, but it will be interesting to see how the front office and coach Singletary respond to the live questions.  Either way, I'll be here keeping you updated on the event.
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7:15pm - We're underway.  Ted Robinson with a general introduction of things and he introduces Jed York.

7:17 - I'll give Jed a little bit of credit for being smart enough to rock a suit in 49ers colors.  Maybe small, but you never saw John York in such a suit.

7:25 - Apparently there will be a "49ers Hall of Fame."  The fans will get to vote on who goes into the Hall of Fame based on a list the team develops.  York also mentioned the team is hoping to get a term sheet in the first quarter of 2009.  If that goes through, they'll run the environmental review process and then it would go onto the ballot in the fall.

He has mentioned separate options at Hunters Point and Candlestick Point.  The city is supposedly looking to put in condos to help pay for the stadium.  Jed just mentioned that given the economy that's not entirely realistic.  Santa Clara remains the first priority because of public transit connections.  He emphasized they would remain the "San Francisco" 49ers.  Nothing really new there, but certainly clarified the issue.

7:28 - My internet crashed for a minute so I missed the Super Bowls comment.  Ted Robinson is now introducing Andy Dolich.

7:39 - Dolich is basically going over the additions the team made over the past season.  New food/beverage options at the ballpark (The Absolut Lounge), new flat-screens, a new season ticket service operation.  Now we're hearing from the ticket sales department.  I worked in sales in baseball for a couple years.  I'm sorry, but it just wasn't that exciting.  Maybe that's why I ended up leaving sales.  And just like that we're moving on to Scot McCloughan.

7:43 - McCloughan smartly points out they've been "talking the talk" and haven't proven anything yet on the field and it falls on him as much as anybody.  He's talking about his explanation to ownership why Singletary deserved the job.  Whether you like McCloughan or not, he's certainly stepping up and taking responsibility for the decision, whether it works or not.

7:47 - McCloughan is discussing the hirings of Jimmy Raye and Mike Johnson.  Nothing new there, other than the methodical nature of the search that he appreciated.  He just made a separate comment discussing the draft versus free agency and said, "You overpay in free agency."  Depending on who you get in the draft, you could very well overpay for that first round pick.  He recognizes that it's a tool they have to use to improve, but they need to build the team through the draft.  They'll also get 2 compensatory picks, although he's not sure of which rounds yet.

7:50 - First question was about who the 49ers would be interested in for free agency.  They can't say anything because of the tampering rules but he mentioned interest in OL, S, WR and QB, which is what Singletary said.  Also, no real update on Alex Smith.

7:53 - Great intro video for Singletary.  This seems like something you'd see in professional wrestling!

7:56 - Given his motivational speaking background, it's no surprise that Singletary looks quite at ease up there.  He invoked Eddie D's purchase of the team in 1977 and then the hiring of Bill Walsh.  Is it ironic that the camera is focused on him standing in front of Vernon Davis's jersey?

8:01 - The video is crashing my Mozilla for some reason but I keep bouncing back.  Just flipped back on and Samurai Mike is talking about work ethic and practice.

8:02 - "It afforded me the opportunity to do the Super Bowl Shuffle!" (No, he didn't say that...but he should have)

8:03 - "We will get there.  We will get there."  Mike saying he won't get louder or more excited, "I'm not gonna go there."

8:05 - "I'm here to tell you tonight, it will come to pass.  Be there.  Be there from the beginning."  After closing, Singletary gets a standing ovation.

8:08 - We're onto the Q&A.  For Jed York, "Why can't the 49ers fund a stadium privately?"  Jed rolls out the benefits of a stadium and the economic impact.  Andrew Zimbalist would disagree with you.

Next question is from a youngster asking if Shaun Hill will be the QB.  Singletary says he was very thankful Hill stepped in and did a great job.  He was reluctant to name him the starter because he wants competition.  He doesn't want to play favorites anywhere.

8:10 - Yeesh...a question asking if Manny Lawson will be rushing the passer.  He wasn't drafted to do that folks.  Singletary talks about the injury potentially requiring a year and a half recovery time and you could see him showing the old Lawson late in the season.

8:13 - Jed gets a stadium question.  Until something gets on the ballot I don't think we'll hear much of anything that isn't bluster.  I wonder when we'll get the inevitable "sharing the stadium with the Raiders" question.

8:15 - Somebody asked how they'd relocate season ticket holders in the new stadium.  Probably just a bit early for that question.

8:16 - Best line so far.  In response to a question about turning a moral victory into a real victory, Singletary said, "You probably don't know me very well.  I'm not a moral victory kind of guy."

8:18 - Fullback question.  Would Delanie Walker would be considered.  Singletary said that Walker is not the guy for blowing someone up, but more for "getting an angle on a guy."  He thinks Walker is best used moving around and creating mismatches.

8:22 - The inevitable "why Jimmy Raye" question.  Interesting comments about Martz.  Singletary said that basically Martz did what Singletary wanted but was clearly not excited about it.  He gave Singletary the buttoned up, "Ok I'll do that" response.  Not surprising to hear, but it's nice to hear it actually verbalized by the coach.  He said that he wants coaches who truly believe in his approach.

8:25 - QB question, in particular, a premium QB - McCloughan: "Bringing in a big name is not feasible.  Bringing in a Matt Cassell who's been franchised."  Didn't see it coming up, but glad to get it cleared up.

8:28 - York discussing improving Candlestick (in terms of in-stadium infrastructure) and it's interesting to see him call out the SF politicians again.  Basically saying the 49ers have made improvements but the city needs to kick in also.

8:31 - Singletary just said he's much better at doing his thing that answering the questions.  He was asked about the corners playing too far off and not physical enough.  He said, "Physical with an F!"

8:34 - Interesting McCloughan comment about the draft not working out sometimes.  He was discussing how they need to figure out why guys aren't working. "Why a Brandon Williams hasn't worked out.  Why an Alex Smith hasn't worked out in everybody's eyes."  Interesting qualification between the two.

8:36 - Best question to end the night: When will we go back to our normal uniforms?  Dolich replied, "Stay tuned."  He said the organization knows its history and don't be surprised if you see championship colors back in the future.

And with that we come to an end.  Nothing really surprising, but I certainly enjoyed hearing Mike Singletary speak.  Just an all-around entertaining guy.  I can now begin to sort of imagine the half-time locker room speeches.

FOOCH'S NOTE 10:05PM: At the moment, your best bet for watching the State of the Franchise video is to go to the 49ers home page.  Then on the center-right side of the page you'll see videos and a "Play Video" button.  When you click on that it'll go through an advertisement and then on to the video itself.  Things kick off at about the 1:45 mark with a highlight video.  Mike Singletary is introduced with a solid video at the 43:35 mark.  My favorite part of the evening.

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