The great Jimmy Johnson
Bill Walsh came to the Niners and completely remade the team. He installed the West Coast offense and built a defense around high draft picks like Ronnie Lott, and some castoffs from other teams. He excelled at the draft, bringing in such greats as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, and John Taylor. But he and Eddie D also brought a “system” and a swagger. They decided that a winning organization is founded on an attention to detail, and finely tuned parts that make the team better.
Today’s Niners are a sad departure from these glory days. They have wasted both draft picks and free agent money in almost ten years of failure. These includes the likes of poor draftees Rashaun Woods, Kentwan Balmer, Manny Lawson, Chilo Rachal, and Alex Smith, and free agents like Nate Clements, Tully Banta-Cain, and Jonas Jennings. Add to that the mediocre addition of failures like Jason Hill, Michael Lewis, Bear Pascoe, Shauntae Spencer, and Nate Davis. This is a complete disaster. The only players worth keeping in a total makeover are: Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, and the two recently drafted first round lineman, Anthony Davis, and Mike Iupati. And more than anything, the Niners need a franchise quarterback like Montana, or Steve Young. How about Michael Vick or Andrew Luck?
The solution is simple. The Niners need new ownership in the form of a buying group that includes former Niners like Steve Young, and Brent Jones. They have succeeded in business after their playing careers. I think they are smart enough to hire the right people to acquire and coach the players. In other words, they will find the next Bill Walsh or Bill Bellichek. Again, the ties to the past are important. The team should have signed Mike Holmgren when he left Seattle. He was Walsh’s quarterbacks coach and Offensive Coordinator.
I would be rather upset as a season ticket holder. I had numerous opportunities through the 70s and 80s to become one. Though the excitement of being at the game is unmatched, I would be rather pissed off now since my tickets would be a total waste of money. I am a loyal fan, I still watch useless games on TV, but I am not a spend thrift. I do not need to donate money to millionaires like the Yorks.
Even a non football fan could tell that making Mike Singletary the head coach was a disaster in the making. If the Yorks have any semblance of reality, they need to hire a top name coach like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. In my opinion, hiring Singletary was both a budget move, and a decision that put the development of the team back a full two years. Perhaps the best fit of all is someone who is never mentioned. It would be Cal coach Jeff Tedford, an offensive genius and a great judge of talent. In terms of other college coaches, I would shy away from Jim Harbaugh, who at this point is just a one year wonder. (They hired Harbaugh)
Another major decision awaits as far as the stadium. Old Candlestick Park is the worst stadium in all of sports, not even fit for a minor league baseball team, or college football team. If the move to Santa Clara provides the best stadium, I reluctantly agree. A downtown San Francisco stadium, not far from ATT Park would be the best scenario. In either case, it would make attending a game a much better experience.
I long for the days when my son and I would pack up and head for the game. We tolerated old Candlestick because we knew the team would both excel and excite. Little did we know that it would be decades before a return to glory. The glory will only happen when the right pieces are selected, and given time to grow, much like the Walsh years. Yes, he was “The Genius” and little did we know that no more of his pedigree lie hidden in the ranks of football coaches and administrators.