Three weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers Week 12 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals was preceded by a plane flying over Levi's Stadium with a banner that said, "Jed & 49ers should mutually part ways." Levi's Stadium security attempted to have it taken down due to questions about permits, but it got some publicity.
The people behind it will be back again this weekend, and at least one more time this season. I had a chance to get in touch with them through Germinator, and discussed their plans, as well as their reasoning for all this. I spoke with Conor McGuire, and the banner has been created by him, Graham Grealish (he started the original GoFundMe site), Mark Scannel, and Jack Harrington.
The plan is to have the banner flying this Sunday before the Bengals game, and another banner for the season finale against the St. Louis Rams. They will be using the same "mutually part ways" banner because the timing of the GoFundMe did not give them time to get the new banner completed for Sunday's game. The GoFundMe provided enough money to re-fly that one, and then come up with another one for the season finale, with a message that is still to be determined.
Conor was originally planning on writing a FanPost. I contacted him about an interview, but rather than post it as an interview, I decided I would just drop in his article here. Let him get it off his chest, rather than edit (beyond spelling/grammar) it to fit an article. You can also read more on the current GoFundMe page. They are not accepting any more donations right now.
Thanks to Conor for getting back to me. There will be differing opinions on the value of the banner, but I wanted to make sure that Conor and his friends got a chance to explain themselves to a broader audience. Here's what they had to say:
"We raise Super Bowl banners. And whenever we don't deliver that, I hope that you will hold me directly responsible and accountable for it." - Jed York
Well, after this Sunday's loss the San Francisco 49ers are now officially eliminated from playoff contention. There will be no Super Bowl banner this year. Actually, there's never been a Super Bowl banner since the York family took over ownership of the team back in 2000. That's a lot of seasons without any delivery.
While I myself was no Hall of Famer on the football field, actually I was quite the opposite - a slow, 130-lb wide receiver - I do know football. In fact, I know it pretty well. I know it enough to understand that the reasons the San Francisco 49ers went from looking like a Super Bowl favorite to the worst team in the NFC West are all the fault of one man, Jed York.
York has made countless poor decisions that have put the 49ers in the current position they are in, last place in the NFC West, fresh off a shellacking at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. Yes, the hapless Cleveland Browns just embarrassed the 49ers, who now have the worst score differential in the NFL. Jed's poor decisions range from firing Jim Harbaugh (Hey! Michigan's pretty good this year) to most recently keeping Paraag Marathe a member of the organization after being identified as the source of leaks. York has proved that when faced with a decision, he will most assuredly make the wrong choice. Jed York is the sole reason the 49ers are 4-9 and heading in a direction that seemed unimaginable just two short years ago.
But the "good news" is that York asked that the Faithful hold him accountable when the team doesn't deliver, and it's clear that time has come. However, for us fans there is no way to hold York accountable because he hides in the shadows of Levi's Stadium and speaks with the media less than Marshawn Lynch. This is why my group of friends and I decided to let our frustrations fly, literally, in the form of pre-game banners over Levi's Stadium.
After countless conversations about how to express our frustrations we settled on the idea of flying a banner over the stadium. Nothing would catch Jed's attention more than a banner flying overhead creatively using his own words against him. So we set a target date and started a GoFundMe page that raised enough money to put the plan to action on November 29th prior to the Cardinals game. The banner was a huge success thanks to a large number of 49er fans that donated money and spread the word on social media.
As Faithful fans of one of the greatest franchises in North American sports we have a right to express our feelings, so that's exactly what we're doing. The current state of the 49ers is unacceptable and we the fans need to continue to put pressure on Jed York to force changes that will help this once proud franchise get back to winning ways.
We have a new plan in place to have a bigger, re-usable banner made that will further express our frustrations as fans and put pressure on the man responsible. Our new banner will again be a play on Jed Yorks words and read "Hold Jed Accountable". We can start a trend and use the hash tag #HOLDJEDACCOUNTABLE on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to bring even more attention to this. As fellow fans we could not be doing this without your help and support. We have an opportunity to let our voice be heard and force Jed York to truly be accountable. Together we're Faithful!
Conor update: First off, thank you all for the support you've given whether it be donations, comments or even reaching out to us, we appreciate it. Unfortunately we did not reach our target goal to get the bigger, re-usable banner we set out to get. However, we have a plan B! Plan B will feature a banner flying this Sunday before the Bengals game reading "Hold Jed Accountable", this banner will be similar to the first one we flew. We'd love if the Faithful can help get this going on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoldJedAccountable. We think it'd be great if fans took photos of themselves, friends, and family at the game and join in this together. The Faithful is a huge group and by doing this we can only create more noise regarding the situation. Additionally, since we still have a good deal of money remaining, we plan to have another banner fly over the final game of the season that will feature a TBD message. If this Sunday's banner is successful we can always re-open the GoFundMe page to get more donations and possibly do something even bigger, potentially even during the Super Bowl festivities. Again, thank you all so much!