My Hat's Off to Jed York

Six words I couldn't imagine myself saying 4 years ago.

Why am I saying them now? Let me start with a little bit about me, and touch on my own beliefs and values. I think that will help me explain.

I'm less than a year away from retiring. I got my MBA at the age of 46. I've worked my entire career in manufacturing, starting at ground level as a machine operator and have worked my way up through the ranks. I will retire as VP of Operations for a leading producer of Semiconductors. I say all that not to provide a resume, but to say this: Jed York and I have nothing in common. In fact, historically, I've found that I tend to doubt, and am at best slow, to respect people who've had it too easy. That's not fair, and I admit it. But it explains why those 6 words didn't come easy (to me).

I'm also a faithful Forty Niner fan, and have been since the late 1970's. I've never played Football, beyond "street ball" in Brooklyn, where I grew up. I did play HS Basketball, so I do at least have a real life sense for locker room and team dynamics. I've also spent the last 40 years of my life building and leading teams in the work environment. Together, those experiences have played a large part in shaping my beliefs and values as they apply now to my views of our Forty Niners.

I originally adopted the Niners as my team when I did because of my HS Basketball coach. He's related to our own Gene Washington. And so his influence and that connection got me interested. Further disclosure, as a 15 year old, I also really liked the uniforms/ colors, and still do. I thought they stood apart from the rest of the league, in a good way, and again, still do. Not too long after, along came Bill Walsh, Joe Montana and our first Super Bowl victory, which ushered in the 80's and 90's. The Dynasty was born, and if you were a fan then it wasn't hard to build a lifelong loyalty that can never be shed.

The new millennium, so far, has been tough. I developed a near to unhealthy hatred for the York name. I raged as I watched Mooch, a coach I really loved, get replaced with some of the worst coaches in the history of sport. It only went from bad to worse. The post John and Denise, and pre Jed decade was, in my opinion, the "Decade of Darkness." Worst in my lifetime as a fan, for sure.

And then along came Jed. I didn't then, but do now appreciate that the move to pass along day to day control to Jed was, in a small way, John and Denise admitting that they themselves weren't good enough at being owners to ever truly be successful. Jed came out of the blocks hot and hired Harbaugh. I was a huge fan of the move, and I was optimistic we would finally return to the Niners of the 80's and 90's, the team that I was so proud of. If you were around then, then you know what came next. I loved the Harbaugh years, at least the first 3, and was devastated by the "Mutual Parting of Ways." And with that I was right back to my near unhealthy hatred for all things York, now including and even especially, Jed. I held out little to no hope the Tomsula experiment would end well. The only good parts were some of the jokes and the fact that it (mercifully) ended quickly.

For me, Chip Kelly amounted to rinse and repeat. But it actually wasn't. I think the Kelly whiff was a last straw of sorts for Jed. I think he realized how little he knew, and how much he needed to learn. And he did what many of us pounded the table for him to do. He sought out advice from Uncle Eddie D. Someone who actually proved he knew how to be an NFL owner.

And here we are. Debating over whether or not Jed should get rid of Shanahan and/ or Lynch and start the cycle again.

Jed's been the acting owner (for all intents and purposes) for about a decade. He's clearly made some major mistakes, and rightfully been exposed to extreme pressure as a consequence. But I think, now, there's good news. I think the last decade has served as valuable learning for him. And I hope I'm right, because that will matter more moving forward than everything that's passed.

The decade of Jed has been difficult, but I try to not forget that it's really been a mixed bag. We've appeared in 4 conference championships. We're one of only 3 teams in the NFL that can say that. That's almost one every other year if we're allowed to use creative mathematics (the first amendment affords me that. LOL).

In this, the first year of what I would call rocky times for the ShanaLynch regime, I appreciate Jed the most. What do I appreciate most that he's done? Nothing. Right, it's that he's done nothing (publicly).

So back to where my values and beliefs come in. The teams current leadership, Jed and ShanaLynch, have made plenty of mistakes. I believe there's two ways to look at those. First, is as punishable offenses. If you're of that mind, then you want them fired, even if you don't have a better answer. Second, is as an investment. That's my camp. People who don't make mistakes haven't done anything. People who have are stronger, as long as they look inside and use them as opportunities to learn from them. I still believe in the teams current leadership. And it starts at the top. That's why my hat's off to Jed.


This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.