After Gary Kubiak concluded his farewell address on New Year's Day-plus-one, it was a bit of a shock to the system when NFL Network cut to San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York's press conference following the firing of former head coach Chip Kelly.
Reporters from all around the Bay Area and Sacramento lofted soft ball questions to the Niners' beloved owner, praising him for yet another successful decision. Here's a few of the nice things they had to say:
"Why are you competent to lead a search for a general manager and possibly a head coach too?"
"You dismissed your general manager and coach because they didn’t reach certain performance standards . . . Why shouldn’t you be dismissed or reassigned for the same reasons?"
As you can probably ascertain, Jed York is viewed in San Francisco as little more than the product of nepotism, the nephew of Hall-of-Fame former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, who bequeathed one of the most storied franchises in the NFL to his brother's son.
Things have not gone so well for young Jed recently. When a rift developed between Jim Harbaugh and former GM Trent Baalke, York sided with Baalke after the 2014 season and sent Harbaugh packing after five playoff victories and a Super Bowl appearance in four seasons.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... Harbaugh's successor, Jim Tomsula, went 5-11 in his only season before being dismissed. And of course, the same fate for Chip Kelly, who went 2-14 and was very quickly shown the door.
It was not until the end of this most recent season, 2016, that York admitted some of his own error by finally doing away with Baalke. Only a couple of years late.
This decision came from completely out of nowhere. Several candidates were mentioned during the process, including ESPN analyst and former 49ers safety Louis Riddick. Lynch's name, however, was kept secret.
Perhaps that's a result of York's unstable relationship with the media in San Francisco, who would certainly be perplexed as to why the team's owner would even think to consider Lynch, who has no executive experience to speak of.
After Lynch's retirement from the NFL in 2008, he joined FOX to provide color commentary in less than a week, which has been his job ever since. He didn't work as a scout, director of player personnel, or even coach in between.
It's a bizarre choice, and it's going to be scrutinized a little extra because of York's extremely dubious history as a decision-maker for the 49ers. Like one reporter asked, why is he competent?
It was a fair question back on the second of January, and it's even more relevant now that he's made his pick. Something tells me that the media will not become any less confrontational the next time York steps in front of the podium.
All of that being said, John Lynch is a very bright football mind. He's a Stanford graduate, a longtime defensive captain, an instinctive and violent player (the man once knocked out his brother-in-law during a game) on the field, and one of the most insightful analysts on television.
Does any of that make him qualified to jump to the top of the front office hierarchy in San Francisco without spending any time on one of the lower rungs of the ladder? (I willfully am ignoring any of the obvious parallels to contemporary American politics.)
Fortunately, Lynch will have a chance to prove everyone else wrong and construct a talented roster for presumed head coach Kyle Shanahan in year one. I hope he does, and so does Jed York.
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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.