On Wednesday evening the San Francisco 49ers had their annual State of the Franchise event, where the coaching staff, general manager John Lynch, and virtually eight of the teams best players spoke about the organization and answered questions on the upcoming season, with about 1,000 fans on hand. Our photographer Ricky Helton was on hand and will be sharing his gallery of photos either later this afternoon or at some point this weekend. Let’s talk about the event, starting the big news.
Staley staying put
During the event, Joe Staley signed a two-year contract extension through 2021. I’ll link the video below, but when Staley was introduced, he came out doing former 49ers free safety Merton Hanks’ funky chicken dance. You’ve seen his antics during when the San Jose Sharks were in the playoffs. Staley is a goofy, bubbly personality. When he signed his contract on Monday, Staley showed a side of him the front office isn’t used to seeing.
Staley explained why he was emotional:
“I don’t get emotional like that and I was worried I was going to get emotional. I was like, ‘Keep it together.’ I don’t look back at my career ever and think of things. It’s just not something I’ve ever done. But this is something I take pride in: to have the opportunity to play for one franchise for my entire career.”
At the time, the contract details hadn’t leaked yet, but Staley mentioned how the franchise showed him “a lot of respect.”
CEO Jed York hinted that there would be big news during the event, but nobody knew what was going to happen. York brought out Staley and finished with, “What do we think about giving Joe maybe a two-year contract extension?” Now that we have the contract details, Staley is well worth the extension.
Classic end zones all season
President Al Guido started the event off by letting the crowd know the team has raised $40 million for the local community dating back to 1991. Guido also talked about the mini-city he mentioned in last year’s State of the Franchise that will include over 30 restaurants, four hotels around Levi’s Stadium--the hope there is to increase the chances of the 49ers hosting the Super Bowl, Olympics, and College Football National Championships.
The announcement that got the crowd going was when Guido mentioned there would be two bobblehead giveaways. One will be for Staley, another for tight end George Kittle. The giveaways will take place during the home games against the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals.
Guido also announced that the 49ers would have the “classic” end zones all season, like the one below.
The team will also wear their classic all-white uniforms during the Panthers game.
The event was broken up into four quarters. Management, front office, coaches, and players. Quarters two and three were precisely what you’d expect a coach to say in June. NFL Network’s Peter Schrager was the host, and he asked head coach Kyle Shanahan what he thinks about the rest of the NFC West, to which Shanahan responded: “we don’t give a damn about those teams.”
The other takeaway was the team continuing to gush over punter Mitch Wishnowsky. Wes Welker said he’d refuse to catch a punt from Wishnowsky if he was still in the NFL. Shanahan said, as an offensive head coach, you lose all street cred if you draft a punter early, so it should say something that he was ecstatic when they were able to land Wishnowsky in the draft. The legend of Mitch continues to grow.
You can watch the entire event below: