Call me crazy, but I kind of liked the San Francisco 49ers decision to have a State of the Franchise event. Yeah, it sounds like something the Oakland Raiders would have done with Al Davis in charge, overhead projector and all, but this was for the team trying to look on the up and up, not for a boneheaded decision to defend. They’ve had plenty of those.
Yes, most of the show was cheesy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the questions were filtered. Jed York seemed to be giving the same rhetoric that we have grown accustomed to since firing Chip Kelly.
But I liked watching this because it was nice to see the whole organization so much more cheerful. It goes with this new transparent narrative where everyone is out in the open, not hiding behind closed doors or being whispered about.
It’s rather amazing how dramatic the transformation of the 49ers organization has been. Every year I’m seeing what I hope is optimism and change, and now looking back this is actually the first time I see a completely different business, team, and culture. We give Jed York a lot of gruff for the decisions that have been made, but this is the first one I can say he nailed.
We’re still in a honeymoon phase with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, but I definitely remember Trent Baalke after his first draft. The 49ers were esoteric, mysterious, and it seemed like they were talking to the media just because they had to. How many times did you see Trent Baalke or even Jim Harbaugh just uncomfortable in front of a microphone answering a simple question? Here, this front office just can’t shut up. They are telling us everything, I think I’ve learned more about the 49ers inner workings in five minutes than I have in the last six years.
And it works. Much better. They know when to not tell us something and are open to tell us everything else. You can be transparent and still keep secrets. No one saw the draft shaking out the way it did, even when the 49ers were open about plans and trades—it didn’t hurt anybody.
Or about how Vance McDonald was on the trade block. Did they deny the report? Nope, right when the question was asked, they said front and center they were looking for possible suitors. That knocks the wind out of a lot of investigations real quick. If it was a “not exactly,” or a “no comment” everyone would have a field day coming up with dirt on what was really going on in the front office. We’d never know. Who wants to know what’s really going on with Vance McDonald? It’s not like what really was going on with the Trent Baalke/Jim Harbaugh/Jed York love triangle where we had a different story every place we looked.
I still don’t know these guys. I never will. I don’t know what’s going on day by day, what their plans are for the future, and I don’t want to know or else that’d leave them open to being taken advantage of. What I do like is how the little things, the things that just don’t matter in the sake of competition, are actually out in the open and being discussed. Things about the business that make me curious or how they approach things (that draft piece by Peter King never would have happened if Baalke was in charge) are discussed like we were in the room with them. The 49ers have nothing to hide and are not afraid to be sincere. It’s pretty nice.
State of the Franchise was a pretty campy event with a few good quotes and insight. I wasn’t proven wrong on the cheesiness I predicted, but I certainly like where their heads are at in putting something like that on. It wasn’t something we wanted, but we definitely needed that to know they’re at least trying to change.
Onto your links:
The full John Lynch interview from PFT Live (Pro Football Talk)