This was published first on PressDemocrat.com.
Jed York is experiencing growing pains which may develop into severe stomach cramps. But first, let’s talk about John Lynch, the 49ers’ new general manager.
For all we know, Lynch may turn out to be a fantastic GM but, please, this is a stunning hire. And not in the good sense.
Lynch never has been a GM or a personnel executive or a scout. He has no background running a team or putting one together in any capacity. He has a background in broadcasting — has been a color commentator for Fox since 2008.
He also played in the NFL. He was a nine-time Pro-Bowl safety for the Buccaneers and Broncos, and he’s a future Hall of Famer. He played under Mike Shanahan in Denver, Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay and Bill Walsh at Stanford.
Lynch is extremely bright. He’s also close with John Elway, another Hall-of-Fame player who went to Stanford and became a GM. Elway runs the Broncos, and they won the Super Bowl last year.
It’s possible the Niners just hired the next Elway — an exciting thought for the 49ers and their fans. But the owner of the team doesn’t sound so excited.
After hiring Lynch on Sunday night, Jed York spoke with Peter King of Sports Illustrated, and told King, “We understand we’ll have to live with growing pains.”
Excuse me? Growing pains?
When I think of growing pains, I think of suffering, torment, torture, misery, agony. This is the language York used to introduce his new GM. Why would he use such negative imagery? Lynch hadn’t even yet had his opening press conference (he spoke to reporters on a conference call Monday afternoon), and York was lowering expectations.
What other owner would do that? Would Eddie DeBartolo Jr. do that?
Of course he wouldn’t. He or any sensible owner would say, “We are confident in John Lynch and thrilled he is our general manager. We are sure he will lead us to the Super Bowl.”
That’s positive, confident language, the right kind of language.
York sounds like he’s bracing for a terrible outcome and insulating himself from blame. Like he’s saying, “Look, we know we’re going to lose most of our games until this guy figures out what he’s doing.”
“Growing pains” implies a begrudging acceptance, as if York had no alternative but to hire Lynch and endure what comes next. As if Lynch was forced upon York by Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator of the NFC-champion Falcons and almost certainly the next head coach of the 49ers.
Lynch admitted that Shanahan lobbied for him. “Kyle and I were in a conversation (about Lynch becoming the GM),” he said during his opening conference call. “(Shanahan) seemed excited at that point. He turned it over to Jed and Paraag (Marathe, 49ers executive vice president), and the rest moved fairly quickly.”
York admitted the same thing to King. “I talk to Kyle,” York said. “He says John is the most prepared of all the TV (people) he meets in the production meetings before games.”
Let’s skip over the ridiculous comment on production meetings and how they possibly can teach someone how to be a GM. What is York saying? He’s saying something like this: “Shanahan wanted Lynch. This is Shanahan’s guy. I had no choice. Don’t blame me if Lynch fails.”