The fans are boycotting the home games and sales at the 49ers museum and fan store are off by about 80%. This all because the 49ers are losing on the field and the front and on-field management is failing to give fans any hope for the future.
Recent drafts have been below average and many of the talented veterans are have either left the team for greener pastures or have retire. The lack of talent is especially noticeable on the offensive side of the ball. The Niners are operating with a second rate offensive line, a career back-up QB, tight ends and running back group decimated by injuries and a receiving corp that lacks either speed, youth or talent. This all adds up to the worst scoring offense in the NFL.
The defense is better but still not nearly top tier and certainly not good enough to make-up for the worst offense in the NFL.
So where should we place the blame for quick collapse of the Niners? Starts at the top with Jed York who over the last few years has taken an alternating hands on and hands off approach to running the organization to the detriment of the organization. During the Harbaugh years he was hands on to the point he clashed with the mercurial coach leading to his firing after 3 successful years and a fourth where York’s micro-management caused such organizational dissension that it bleed into the media and the locker room. After much criticism York hired career assistant Jim Tomsula, a personal favorite, to coach the Niners. York then receded into the background to watch the team flounder. It apparent to all who follow the 49ers that Jed surrounds himself with too many non-football types and apparently “yes men and women”.
The front office managed by Trent Baalke is also a good example of a “yes man” getting head. He gets along with York but his scouting and personnel record rank as one of worst in the NFL over the last 5 years. Baalke’s draft and free agent signings have not replenished an aging team. His complete lack of ability to scout and sign gifted offensive players is evidenced as the Niners now possess the worst offense in the NFL. Baalke has apparently gotten ahead by getting along the the York people which probably is why he is still employed by the Niners and Harbaugh is working at the University of Michigan.
The on-field the situation gets even worse. Jim Tomsula succeeded one of the most accomplished 49ers head coaches because he was well liked by the owners and players. Unfortunately being well liked doesn’t necessarily carry over being a successful and visionary head coach. In fact many of the most successful head coaches, Bill Walsh for example, where not noted for being a player’s or owner’s best friend. Tomsula’s lack of head coaching experience shows up on field during games as well in the ability to prepare the team for long-term as well as short term success. Tomsula’s coaching staff is a curious mix of former unsuccessful head coaches or second rate assistants. One doesn’t get the feeling there is going to be Tomsula Coaching Tree any time soon.
Bottom line, Jed York has to bring someone in at the head coach, GM or President level to provide the organizational and strategic vision to build a winning football organization on and of the field. To do this York must check his ego and allow this new person to build his team of advisors and assistants in his own vision. The new person must also be given the resources and control to to effectively compete with the others 31 NFL teams for talent, information and facilities. Once again the York Family’s track record on this front is hot and cold. The past and recent penny pinching seems to originate from Jed’s parents and carried is out by the recently demoted Paraag Marathe. Marathe was hired by the 49ers in 2001 after 2 years as a consultant with Bain. Academically he carries a MBA from Stanford and Business degree from Haas School of Business. There has been a lot of media speculation about Marathe’s influence over the GM and on-field personnel through the budget and contract negotiations.