49ers Stadium Groundbreaking: Jim Harbaugh Highlights The Event

April 19, 2012; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Members of the York Family and Santa Clara city council representatives dig in during the groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the new 49ers Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The San Francisco 49ers officially broke ground on their new Santa Clara-based stadium Thursday evening, and asis often the case, there is something kind of amusing about people in suits with hard hats and shovels. It kind of reminds me of the scene in Caddyshack 2 (yes, I dare mention it), when all the rich folks were bought up and had to work construction for a day.

The 49ers had a variety of speakers on hand for the ceremony, including CEO Jed York, Santa Clara city officials, current players and Coach Harbaugh. As should be expected by now, head coach Jim Harbaugh had some of the more entertaining words of the evening.

I've posted the transcript after the jump, but I thought I'd point specifically to Coach Harbaugh's comments:

"Thank you very much. It's certainly a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to be here on this historical evening. As a football team we are reminded daily, in the fierce and competitive environment we are in, that the only way to win is as a team. Today we witnessed a shining example of that attitude. We attacked this endeavor the way we always do, with the enthusiasm unknown to mankind, the burning desire to be the best and most importantly a team attitude. The story that best describes attitude is of the stone cutters, who were asked what they were doing. Now picture this, you've got some guys out there cutting stone, big saw, stone, dust flying everywhere, faces unrecognizable because of the soot on their faces. Somebody comes up to them and says ‘what are you doing?' The first one replied, ‘I'm cutting stone into blocks, what does it look like I'm doing.' The second stone cutter replied, ‘Let me tell you what I'm doing. I'm part of a team who is building a great cathedral.' Now that's attitude. That's the kind of attitude we're looking for. There's good attitude, there's bad attitude, there's selfish attitude and there is team attitude. We're looking for those who choose to be part of a team, part of our team, the San Francisco 49ers. That team includes the City of San Francisco, the City of Santa Clara, the Peninsula, the Bay Area, Northern California, the great state of California and all of the San Francisco 49er Faithful. It includes the past, the present and the future of the San Francisco 49ers. In closing, as we look out here this evening, I see a team who's competing to be the best by building and fighting at the same time, with a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other, to build a great football cathedral. Go Niners!"

He can even make a ground-breaking intense. Gotta love the man!

Groundbreaking CeremonyApril 19, 2012
San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Ted Robinson:

"Well, good evening everybody. This is a wonderful, wonderful occasion for all of us to gather. It's official. There's a ceremony, but really this is a celebration. For tonight, we can say, if I can steal my own line, we can never, ever doubt Santa Clara again. Tonight, what we'll do here in the next 30 minutes is send a signal to everybody that this is real. It's happening. And one of the world's greatest outdoor sports and entertainment centers will rise on this very site, faster than any of us will believe. One thing that will just shock all of us when we start driving by this in the next few weeks is how quickly we'll see things happen. And it's a great, great testimony to the 49ers history. We have players and coaches and executives who have been part of the greatness of this franchise all here who are a part of making this happen. You'll meet a couple of the current players who are going to lead this team into the new stadium. We'll hear from the dignitaries who helped make this very night possible. But it's really all about the fans. The San Francisco 49ers fans deserve this. They deserve to have something fitting their great support and this incredible technological area in which we live. In about 25 minutes or so we'll officially break ground and the construction will officially begin for this stadium. But first we'd like to invite onto the stage some of the key people who have been involved in the success of this project. Please give a big welcome to 49ers CEO Jed York, Coach Jim Harbaugh, Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews, former Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan, and Santa Clara City Council Members Pat Kolstad, Lisa Gilmor, Kevin Moore, and Jamie McLeod. And now let's kick things off with our first guest, very passionate about his city's future and committed to growing the economy, Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews leads the city and this new stadium development with pride and positive leadership. A fifth-generation Santa Claran, please welcome Mayor Jamie Matthews."

Mayor of Santa Clara, Jamie Matthews:

"Is this a perfect day, or what? Well, I officially welcome all of you to Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. This is a project that eclipsed many generations. In fact, I've heard Jed say that this happened, that we started thinking about this before he was even born. This has been decades in the making and it didn't happen just in the last few years. I'd like to talk about that. It first started with the belief and the values of Eddie Souza, our former mayor, who had the courage with the council to bring the 49ers and their headquarters here to Santa Clara in 1988. So, let's give them a round of applause. It was because of the vision of Don Von Raesfeld and all the subsequent councils in between that put the infrastructure in, that made this possible to be a crowned jewel here in Santa Clara, and they need some applause as well. And it took the best city staff in the entire world to negotiate the complex deal that turned out to be as quoted, ‘the best deal that's ever been done with the NFL in a community partnership with the NFL,' and I'm talking about Jennifer Sparacino, Ron Garratt and the entire Santa Clara City staff. My council colleagues behind me are the most amazing people in the world. And like the 49ers, they are unstoppable. Once they get an idea and they see the end zone, they're going to carry the ball all the way down. And this didn't happen without a lot of challenges we had to overcome. But every single challenge that came before us we found a solution and partnership with the 49ers and we moved the ball forward. And now, we're standing on the 50 yard line of our new stadium. This is a project that no one person, no group of people can own. Everyone has a special place, that special connection to it. But I have to mention a couple. And I'd like to mention the former Mayor of Santa Clara, my council colleague, my dear friend, Patricia Mahan, who had the foresight to grab the commissioner of football, take him up in the skybox and showed him what Santa Clara is all about, and then my lifelong friend, Kevin Moore, the energizer bunny himself. Year round it's Easter on council because Kevin Moore is a relentless booster for Santa Clara. And he had the courage, the will and the initiative to reach out to the 49ers when they were having challenges at San Francisco. And as a result they're here today. The architect, my Westside Little League buddy and my great friend, Kevin Moore. I'd like to introduce Pat Kolstad because he doesn't like being introduced, but Pat Kolstad, I'm just going to tell you right now, Pat Kolstad is deliberated, he loves the city. He was a major driving force on Measure J with many of you out there. And one of the reasons that we actually have the public confidence that's backed us today, that's backed us in the paper, that brings us encouragement to actually do something that's marketed himself is because of Pat Kolstad, my friend. And last but certainly not least, Lisa Gilmor. Her father, Gary Gilmor, was the first mayor of Santa Clara and actually inspired me to run. Lisa has been relentless in pursuit to bring the vision of the San Francisco 49ers here to Santa Clara. She worked on Measure J. She was a driving force behind it and I'm just so pleased and proud to have her on City Council because you know what? With Lisa Gilmor on the council, we can't be stopped. But let's turn the attention really where it belongs. Let's talk about 58 percent of Santa Clarans that voted in favor of the San Francisco 49ers being here. That didn't happen on its own and much of the credit has to be given to the class of the York family. Dr. York and his family, we love you. And your son, the amazing Jed York, who went door to door, sat in peoples' living rooms and told Santa Clarans face to face why this was the best thing for them, how great it would be, and inspired them to dream beyond what they could possibly dream, to see this reality that we're having a piece of today. So, if you want to find heroes, they're all sitting here. Every one of you here today has a piece of the victory that we're celebrating today, every single one of you. All of you who worked on Measure J, who came to the council meetings, are there any Measure J people here today? Let's hear it. Measure J was a tremendous community event to bring the information to the voters. It was a very complex deal. And you know what? Santa Clarans are smart. No matter how complex the deal was, they listened to their friends, they listened and evaluated this over five and a half years, they thought about it. They were thoughtful. They asked great questions, and in the end, the wisdom of the voters is greater than any one of us and we got some pretty smart voters. That's how we got 58 percent. This is an exciting time for Santa Clara because it will bring the excitement of the San Francisco 49ers here. It's a little bit of Hollywood and it's a lot of football, but the thing that it is electrifying, it will bring the jobs that we need. The 36 percent of our unemployed construction workers, our skilled people that have been out of work, suffering for years, waiting for the turnaround of the economy, it's here. We made sure that we had a project-labor agreement to make sure that the people were here. We made sure that we picked a local firm to make sure that the jobs stayed here. I would like to be able to mention each and every person who is here today because each of you deserves to be mentioned, but they're going to give me the hook. So, I want to say to you. This is a day of celebration, a day when we will bring an iconic symbol [to Santa Clara]. No one will ask in the future, where's Silicon Valley, because it's here. Let's get a shovel in the ground. And let's play some football. Thank you."

Ted Robinson:

"Thank you, Mayor Matthews. Your pride bleeds through. That's wonderful. And now you get an idea why things happen in Santa Clara. Thanks for acknowledging all of the people that made this happen. All right, we're represented today, I had mentioned we have some 49ers great players that are here. We actually have a nice array of our current players on hand, two whose actions speak louder than words. He was drafted sixth overall by the 49ers in 2006. In 2009, led the league in touchdown receptions, named to his second Pro Bowl. This past year, 67 receptions, six touchdowns, helping the 49ers win their division. And a catch that will live forever in our memories, the "Vernon Post," that we saw replayed here beautifully in our pregame show. So, everybody welcome 49ers All-Pro tight end, Vernon Davis. And joining Vernon will be another first-round draft pick and if you watched the 49ers this year as I know you all did, you understand what a dominant defense, dominant defense. NFL single-season record, did not allow a rushing touchdown until week 16. His leadership has played a huge role for half a dozen years with the 49ers, five-time Pro Bowler, Patrick Willis. Well, Vernon, firstly, you've been here a while, both of you guys have been here long enough, you've heard this talked about. What's it feel like to be here, to see this? This is where you're going to be playing."

Vernon Davis:

"It's amazing. I'm excited. I know my teammates are excited. We just can't wait. We can't wait. We have a lot to live for and a lot to be excited about."

Ted Robinson:

"Patrick, I heard a story that when you did your last contract with the 49ers you wanted to know if you were going to make it to the new stadium."

Patrick Willis:

"Right, right, I was a little nervous. I never live for the future, just the present. And to actually be here today and share this moment with you all is truly a blessing and thank you all for coming."

Ted Robinson:

"So, Vernon, what's it been like? This week is actually the first time that everybody's been allowed to be back as a team. And you're driving into the facility and you see all this change just in a couple of months?"

Vernon Davis:

"When I pulled up I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, what's going on. But it felt amazing when I pulled up a few days ago and I saw the groundbreaking. All I could do was smile. I smiled because I knew there was something beautiful that was approaching, which was this day, the groundbreaking."

Ted Robinson:

"Let me tell you, I'm looking down there and I'm seeing [QB] Alex [Smith]. You smiling to see Alex again?"

Vernon Davis:

"Hi, Alex."

Ted Robinson:

"I mean we could get a ball down here. Could we reenact the Post? Patrick, you've been a part of this thing, and playoff games, to have those two playoff games. The first two that both of you guys have been able to play, but to have them at home, what was that experience like? And tell us what you think that will be like playing a playoff game here at this stadium?"

Patrick Willis:

"It was amazing. It was my first time making the playoffs and I was ecstatic. And to be able to bring that here and to be able to experience that here, it'll be outstanding and I can't wait."

Ted Robinson:

"Well, it's great to see your teammates back, isn't it? Everybody in this week."

Patrick Willis:

"Yeah, most definitely."

Ted Robinson:

"Good. Well, Patrick, Vernon, leaders, the four of your other teammates that are here, thanks for being here and we're looking forward to it. It's going to go fast. You'll be running right there."

Patrick Willis:

"Yes sir, and before we leave we'd just like to say thank you all for making this possible. Thank you all for coming out and we're going to make this thing tremendous when all is said and done. Thank you."

Ted Robinson:

"Thank you, Patrick and Vernon. Well, so much has happened here in the last few years and Mayor Matthews was so right in talking about the York family and this is a night of such great pride for the family. So many things they tried to do to honor the great history of this team and return the present day to that history. We saw it happen this past year didn't we, 13 wins, the Division Title, basically stunning the league and taking everybody by storm all the way to the NFC Championship Game. Please welcome the NFL Coach of the Year Jim Harbaugh.

Jim Harbaugh:

"Thank you very much. It's certainly a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to be here on this historical evening. As a football team we are reminded daily, in the fierce and competitive environment we are in, that the only way to win is as a team. Today we witnessed a shining example of that attitude. We attacked this endeavor the way we always do, with the enthusiasm unknown to mankind, the burning desire to be the best and most importantly a team attitude. The story that best describes attitude is of the stone cutters, who were asked what they were doing. Now picture this, you've got some guys out there cutting stone, big saw, stone, dust flying everywhere, faces unrecognizable because of the soot on their faces. Somebody comes up to them and says ‘what are you doing?' The first one replied, ‘I'm cutting stone into blocks, what does it look like I'm doing.' The second stone cutter replied, ‘Let me tell you what I'm doing. I'm part of a team who is building a great cathedral.' Now that's attitude. That's the kind of attitude we're looking for. There's good attitude, there's bad attitude, there's selfish attitude and there is team attitude. We're looking for those who choose to be part of a team, part of our team, the San Francisco 49ers. That team includes the City of San Francisco, the City of Santa Clara, the Peninsula, the Bay Area, Northern California, the great state of California and all of the San Francisco 49er Faithful. It includes the past, the present and the future of the San Francisco 49ers. In closing, as we look out here this evening, I see a team who's competing to be the best by building and fighting at the same time, with a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other, to build a great football cathedral. Go Niners!"

Ted Robinson:

Thank you Jim, since taking over as CEO of the 49ers three years ago, Jed York has made bold decisions and returned this team to its winning tradition. Jed has been the driving force, as you heard behind me, worked to begin construction tonight on this new stadium. In 2011, Jed's leadership produced what some call extraordinary results to get shovels in the ground. Not only all the necessarily approvals to begin construction, but most importantly 850 million dollars in construction loans, 200 million dollars in NFL support, that's why we are here tonight. Once open, the new stadium will be quickly recognized as the world's premium outdoor sports and entertainment venue. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the man behind the vision for the Santa Clara home, 49ers Jed York."

Jed York:

Friends, family, 49er faithful, welcome to the site of your new home on Sunday's. We've heard this is a historic day. Let me put that into context. This is the first football stadium, built for professional football, in the state of California in the last 50 years. Now a lot of people would be excited to get a stadium built on time. The 49ers are going to play here in 2014, a full year ahead of schedule. Now breaking ground a year early isn't the only groundbreaking that's going to happen at this football stadium. We set out to make sure this is the first of the next generation of stadium. We wanted to make sure we were the smartest, not the biggest, not the most expensive. We wanted to make sure that this stadium is a sustainable showcase of technology that will enhance the gameday experience from door-to-door and that starts with infrastructure.

"You've got all the major freeways that lead into 14 interchanges and 40,000 parking spaces. That's 40,000 spaces, more than two and a half times what existed at Candlestick. You can hear the light rail, you can see the commuter rail and if you really want to be aggressive, you can take the bike path that's right behind us. I want to take you inside the stadium because that's what really matters. You look at a 68,000-seat venue, holds the same amount of people as Candlestick, but it's going to be twice the size, with concourses going to be three and a half times as wide. Ladies, there are twice as many female restrooms.

"As important as that is, we also want to make sure that you are as close to the action as possible. We put two thirds of our seats in the lower bowl, which will make this the largest lower bowl, percentage wise, in the NFL. That's very important to us because we want to make sure that you are connected to the game, but we didn't stop there. You're in the heart of Silicon Valley and you can reach out to some of the brightest minds of the world, some of the most hi-tech companies that have ever existed. And you can actually get some of those folks to come work for you, you make sure you enhance the gameday technology. You make sure that there is a mobile vision for the stadium that will keep you connected to the game in a way like no other. We will redefine the in-game stadium watching experience, but you have to go a little bit farther than that. You have to embrace the culinary culture of San Francisco now. You want to make sure we have locally grown produce. You want to make sure there's local sourcing so we can have great signature item menus and items on our menu. We want to make sure we can add a lot of great seasonal things to our menus. This is going to be the first LEED-certified NFL stadium in the Nation Football League. I want people to understand that this isn't a green (stadium) for green sake. This is going to be a functionally green stadium. The vast majority of the electricity that's used in our building will come from renewable sources. In fact, we're making it our goal that the energy we use in our entire gameday load is net neutral to the grid. I don't think anybody can ever say that about a professional sporting arena anywhere in the world. That's going to make this gameday experience special for our 49er fans, but it's also going to attract other great events. We are going after a lot of Super Bowls. The last Super Bowl that was held in Northern California worded out pretty well for the 49ers. We are going to host a lot of other great events here, and it's just going to be a magical, magical place. I want to make sure that people understand we set very lofty goals. I think you heard coach Harbaugh say, ‘The only way you accomplish lofty goals is teamwork.' I want to thank some of the people that have been part of our team and I want to start with two people that very often go unnoticed. Mom and Dad, this is impossible without you. You guys set the ground, you guys laid the foundation to make sure this happens. I don't think anybody knows what you've been through to get this stadium built. I thank you for the opportunity to work for you. I thank you for the opportunity to serve the 49er Faithful on your behalf. I want to thank my siblings, Tony, Mara, and Jenna for your unwavering support. I want to go back, before I was born and thank the iconic City Manager Don von Raesfeld, for having the vision for building out the number one infrastructure site in Northern California to make this stadium possible. In 2006, when we put our efforts in Santa Clara to make sure this stadium is reality, you might not know this because the media didn't really cover this aspect; there were a few people that did not want that to happen. Santa Clara, in the midst of political criticism, vocal adversaries stood proud, stood tall. Nobody embodies that more than Patricia Mayhan. Patricia Mayhan didn't want to build a football stadium here to seek the next political office. She wasn't looking for a headline, she wanted to make sure we brought jobs to Santa Clara, that we brought economic impact to Santa Clara, that we brought revenue to Santa Clara, her beloved city. We did without raising taxes and we did that without impacting the city's general fund. I would like to ask Patricia to come up and share the microphone with me so she can share a few words."

Former Mayor Patricia Mahan:

"Imagine this, the 49ers playing in the Super Bowl in their home stadium in Santa Clara in 2016. Just like the stadium, whatever we can imagine, whatever we believe in, can really happen. So, we're onto the Santa Clara Super Bowl L. Go Niners!"

49ers CEO Jed York:

"Patty, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without her leadership this wouldn't have happened. And when you're in a project like this, a billion dollar project, it takes years and years to accomplish. And really when you change mayors in the middle, doesn't always work out. Not in this case. I'm going to thank Mayor Jamie Matthews who was elected in 2000. He made this transition smooth. He made sure that we carried the ball across the goal line. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your support. There are way too many people to thank everybody by name. But I want to do some justice to a lot of the folks who made a difference in this project and really made a difference to me. We've listed a lot of the former city council members and the current city council members, but I'd like to thank them all again because without you guys, without your support, this doesn't happen. I want to thank all the Measure J volunteers and supporters. We're talking about going door to door, working the phones day in and day out, thank you. I especially want to call out Don Callejon, Larry Marsalli for being the co-chairs of that campaign. You guys brought it home, thank you. I'd also like to thank county assessor Larry Stone, Carl Guardino, Jim Wunderman from the Bay Area Council, Gary Gilmor, Jennifer Sparacino from the City of Santa Clara, Brent [last name inaudible] City of Santa Clara, City Attorney Jerry Kaiser, Santa Clara's redevelopment attorneys Goldfarb & Lipman. And there's one more person in particular that I'm going to thank, Lee Rosenthal, who passed away a few years ago. Lee was one of the first people that took control of this project on behalf of the city of Santa Clara. I hope Lee's family can celebrate a little bit today knowing that your father, your husband, made this stadium a reality. I want to thank attorneys that have worked on behalf of the 49ers Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass. Harry O'Brien, thank you so much for everything that you've done. I want to thank DLA Piper, Peter White you've been absolutely a pleasure to work with, thank you for all your effort. Our construction and design team, HNTB, Turner Devcon We've been working together for a long time. I can't wait to see this thing become a reality with you. I want to thank a lot of the folks that work for the 49ers. I want to thank our team for being here today. When you are building the football stadium it's hard to keep it separated from what's going on on the field. These guys have kept their head down, they've gone to work every day and they've started to turn it around on the field and they're getting back to where the San Francisco 49ers belong and that's on the top of the heap. I want to thank you, Coach Harbaugh and I want to thank [General Manager] Trent Baalke for making that happen, and making sure that you're a part of this stadium process and more importantly putting the team in the position to win super bowls. Larry MacNeil's been the point person on this project from day one. Thank you, Larry for all of your efforts. John Watson and Lisa Lang have been working on this project for a long time. Thank you for your effort. We've hired Gideon Yu. I heard a story about him earlier today that I can't repeat, but when he came in, he took the bull by the horns because we were going to get this stadium done and we were going to get this stadium done a year early. He made sure that that happened. I want to thank you, Gideon and your entire team, Paraag Marathe, Josh Proctor, Robbie Evans, Patty Inglis, Jim Mercurio, Hannah Gordon. There are so many people who have worked on this project and made this a reality. I'm sorry that I can't thank you all by name. While this is a moment of celebration for us, I've realized it's bittersweet for some. But I want to make sure that everybody hears me very clear, we are the San Francisco 49ers. We will always be the San Francisco 49ers. And I want to thank Mayor Ed Lee for making sure that the 49ers will always have a great relationship with the city of San Francisco. I look forward to working with you, Mayor Lee, to make sure that the Bay Area becomes a better place. And finally, I want to thank my wife Danielle. Now people might wonder why I'm thanking Danielle last. If I said her name at the beginning of the speech, she'd be taking the microphone away from me, and this would have been over. When we were dating, there aren't a lot of girlfriends that buy the excuse, I can't go out with you on a Friday night because I'm going to be in peoples' living rooms with my father in Santa Clara trying to get the stadium going. But Danielle was there for the entire process. She kept me sane throughout the entire process and there's not a better teammate than you, Danielle. Thank you for being there for me. I can't wait to experience this stadium with you and with our family and create a lifetime of memories. As my grandfather would always say, there's no such thing as a bad short speech. So, we're done, it's time to go party, and thank you so much for your support."

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