It’s no secret that Amazon tried to convince John Lynch to leave his job with the 49ers and return to the broadcast booth. This week on The TK Show podcast, Lynch went into more detail about how everything went down, and even mentioned the one thing that stopped him from leaving the team.
It all starts with a relationship that Lynch built up with now Thursday Night Football Executive Producer Fred Gaudelli during production meetings while Lynch was at Fox. According to John, Gaudelli would sometimes text him compliments about his skills in the booth, and over the years the two developed a friendship.
Late last season Gaudelli repeatedly asked Lynch to have dinner, but Lynch initially declined because the team was in the thick of a playoff race. Eventually the 49ers GM relented.
“I had no idea what they were gonna dump on me. He showed up with some execs from Amazon. We did it at my house, Linda and I, had some Mexican food, some margaritas, and the next thing you know they dropped this bomb on me. They want to hire me, that Mr. Bezos is very aware of this dinner going on, that price is really not an option. It felt like, woah this is a lot. I said, ‘I can’t even think about this right now. I’ve got a duty to our team and I feel dirty even being here. I just was having dinner with a friend.’”
That is definitely a lot to hear over dinner. So what ultimately caused Lynch to turn down an incredible salary, fewer hours, and way less stress?
“At the end of the year, we didn’t play well, we didn’t finish in that championship game. Often times at the end of the season, Kyle is just so gassed that he’ll say, ‘John, I need you.’ Every now and then during the season [he’ll say], ‘Can you address our team?’
So I just tried to put my thoughts into how we come back from a loss like that. Talked about the courage it was going to take. And ultimately, that’s what really got me, Tim, other than my loyalties to the York family, how good they’ve been to us, how much we’ve enjoyed this whole situation. And then primarily my relationship with Kyle, my friendship and my respect for him and the coaching staff that we have, my staff. All that weighed in.
But ultimately, when it came down to making that decision, because the money did get ridiculous, all I could think about was me getting up and talking to that team. And if I left them with unfinished business, I would never feel good. That wouldn’t sit well with me.”
There are very few people that would have made the decision that Lynch eventually made. Especially in sports, where coaches and executives often leave jobs at the drop of a hat.
“I think I even surprised Kyle and Jed because they knew,” Lynch admitted. “They said, ‘Listen, we love you, we don’t want you to go anywhere, but that’s a hard thing to turn down.’ But ultimately, I did. And I’m happy that I did - some weeks (laughs).”
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