All praise to Jed York and his father John for bringing the Super Bowl to the Bay Area. The 49ers will host the 2016 version in their soon-to-be-completed, state-of-the-art football palace due east of Great America in Santa Clara.
If you're counting, it will be Super Bowl "L." That's the number 50 in Roman numerals. And it will be known as the San Francisco Super Bowl — just as the Niners still will be the San Francisco 49ers even though Santa Clara is vastly different from San Francisco. Or maybe it will be called the Bay Area Super Bowl. But it will be Santa Clara's. So, yes, all credit to Santa Clara.
There hasn't been a Super Bowl in the Bay Area since 1985 when Bill Walsh's 49ers ran Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins out of Stanford Stadium 38-16. Which means getting this game — this super game — is a victory, a validation in many ways.
It validates the Yorks. It redeems them. That's the main point.
When John York took over from his brother-in-law Eddie DeBartolo, the team floundered. You can't really blame John York. He's a doctor, and his expertise as a doctor was not in footballology or quarterbacks or the safety blitz. So, he struggled and the team struggled and then, funny thing, he receded from the day-to-day running of the 49ers' organization. At least he seemed to.
His son took over. Jed. He wasn't a ball of fire at first, either, not in the way he hired coaches. But he came around, brilliantly hiring Jim Harbaugh who made the 49ers matter, finally.
Jed's next big enterprise was the stadium — as in getting one. Candlestick Park is not fit for football consumption and Jed swung a deal with Santa Clara, worked hard at the swinging, convinced a lot of people, raised a lot of dough.
And the stadium is getting built. Drive down there and see the big iron skeleton rising to the heavens. Listen to the constant hammering and see people in hardhats riding up and down elevators to all the levels. The stadium-in-progress is a monument to Jed's incessant drive and his skill. It's like Jed threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice with the whole world cheering.
Getting the NFL to put a Super Bowl in a place that isn't even finished is a gesture of faith in John and Jed York and the 49ers. It says these Yorks have come a long way and deserve the big prize, the prize that makes a football organization legit and big time and serious.
Granting the 49ers this Super Bowl shows how much that franchise matters to the league once again — like the old days, not so long ago, when no other football franchise came close. And the stadium and the Super Bowl arrive as the 49ers have returned to elite status on the field, this congruity of stadium and team so neatly accomplished.
The stadium and the Super Bowl identify the Bay Area as a world-class football location. Be clear about this. They will not identify the Bay Area as a world-class location. That's already in place. Has been for a long time. San Francisco is the jewel of American cities and our universities are the tops and our wine is world class and we have Silicon Valley, and our topography and weather are heaven. The Super Bowl adds to that, but does not essentially define us.