Trent Baalke seems to realize he’s the next to go

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After the 49ers had their “mutual parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015, CEO Jed York and G.M. Trent Baalke met the media together. On Monday, one day after coach Jim Tomsula became the one-and-done replacement for Harbaugh, York and Baalke met separately with reporters.

Intended or not, it created the impression that Baalke is now on an island. And he seems to realize it.

“I appreciate the confidence that ownership has shown in me,” Baalke said. “But I also understand the gravity of the situation and understand exactly what this fan base looks for and what this ownership looks for. It’s the San Francisco 49ers. It’s about championships. It’s about being in a position to compete for championships. You’re not going to win it every year. That’s unrealistic to think that. But to put yourself in a position to is really the ultimate goal and that’s what we’re striving to do.”

Baalke’s comments seem far more pragmatic than those of his boss. Last year, York debuted the now-infamous “we raise Super Bowl banners and whenever we don’t deliver that, I hope that you will hold me directly responsible and accountable for it” routine. York was at it again on Monday, setting the bar at a level that only one of 32 NFL coaches per year necessarily will meet.

“Are you in need of somebody who you’re comfortable with, who makes you feel good when you’re in a room with them?” York was asked.

“We’re in need of somebody that can win Super Bowls,” York said.

“So, personality doesn’t matter?”

“We’re in need of somebody that can win Super Bowls,” York replied.

“Didn’t you have that guy?”

“We haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1994,” York said.

He’s right. And what has happened in the last 21 years? Has the franchise folded? Or has it thrived financially, like every other franchise — including the ones that have won plenty of Super Bowls and those that still haven’t won even one?

There’s a delicate balance for every owner to strike between fan and businessman. Of course the goal is to win a Super Bowl. But to make that the only indicator of success can strip the organization of patience, make the 49ers a team for which no one with options will opt to work, and ultimately turn it into a bottom-feeding franchise with an annual quest far more quixotic than realistic.

Really, what coach wants to go into a franchise with: (1) five Super Bowl trophies already in the case; (2) an owner who demands more of them now; and (3) a roster that isn’t remotely close to even qualifying for the postseason tournament?

York’s attitude is a recipe for a door that will revolve until the 49ers accidentally stumble into the next Bill Walsh. And the next Bill Walsh had better win Super Bowls quickly, because if he simply puts the team in serious contention every year and then (God forbid) wants to be compensated accordingly, the 49ers will remind him (and everyone else) that he hasn’t won a Super Bowl and otherwise refuse to find a way to work around the personality quirks and overall intensity that helps make a coach good enough to win Super Bowls in the ultra-competitive NFL.

For now, it’s unclear where the 49ers will look for the next coach who will win a Super Bowl or at least get them close to one. Baalke said no interviews have been conducted, none have been scheduled, and there will be no in-house candidates for the job.

Baalke also strongly suggested that they want a coach with experience. Given that Mike Holmgren has won a Super Bowl, been to another, and wants back in as coach of the 49ers, it would make sense to at least give him an interview.

It would make even more sense to drop the whole “we expect to win Super Bowls” routine and replace it with something along these lines: “We understand how competitive the NFL is. Our goal is to be competitive every year. To have a chance to make it to the playoffs every year. To have a chance to get to the Super Bowl every year. And if it ever happens that we end up with the right coach and the right quarterback who can take us to multiple Super Bowl wins, we’ll do everything we can to provide them with the support necessary to win as many Super Bowls as they can.”

Until York understands the difference between those two messages, he’ll get plenty of practice in conducting postseason press conferences explaining the latest decision to fire a coach or a General Manager.

77 responses to “Trent Baalke seems to realize he’s the next to go

  1. “Baalke said no interviews have been conducted, none have been scheduled, and there will be no in-house candidates for the job.”

    WELL!! We’re off to a fast start to save our jobs, now aren’t we…

  2. Trent Baalke deserves so much credit for bringing in talented players year in and year out. His problem is bringing in talented coaches. He doesn’t. Maybe he can’t scout coaches as well as players or maybe the best coaches just don’t agree with how he operates. Either way Trent Baalke is one of the best GMs in the league, and also the biggest obstacle holding the 9ers back.

  3. Didn’t their defense lose like seven guys this past offseason? Didn’t they lose the coach and coordinator who ran a system designed to bring out the best in their quarterback?
    Who was supposed to win with that roster?

  4. That’s karma for firing Jim Harbaugh. What a joke the storied 49ers franchise has become. It’s similar to what has happened to my beloved Baltimore Orioles. Ownership has ruined both teams. I’m sick of crappy owners.

  5. In 2014 the 49ers had the uncompetitive Raiders and Chargers as competition for the California market. In 2016 the 40ers will probably have a competitive Oakland and possibly two other competitors for the California market making it imperative that the 49ers put out an attractive product. York squandered his opportunity to establish the 49ers as the dominant team by siding with Trent Baalke’s in a seismically immature dispute with Harbaugh. York has lost hundreds of millions by embracing Baalke’s foolishness. Why change now? York is a billionaire – not based on anything he has done, but he still seems to feel entitled!

  6. These guys are going to be the Raiders for the next few years? Dysfunction and misery is what follows when you fire a coach that gets you to 3 championships and a SB

  7. Let’s rank NFL executive dopes. #1 Haslam, #2, York. Doesn’t matter who’s #3 because that person would be miles behind aforementioned clowns.

  8. He should have been the first to go!

    The reason we haven’t won a Super Bowl since the 90’s is because the Yorks swindled the team from Edddie D. Their ownership has beeen disastrous. When Harbaugh came in and resurrected the franchise, they undermined him every chance they got. Now you keep the guy who’s entire 2012 draft isn’t in the League AND hired Tomsula?

    This York/Baalke tandem is beyond bizarre approaching incomprehensible.

  9. Everyone seems to forget that the team didn’t make the playoffs in Harbaugh’s final season, and had a second half collapse even before they lost all the top flight starters this past off season. Harbaugh wouldn’t have won any more games than Tomsula this season, just gone through more off field histrionics to try to deflect the blame from himself.

  10. York Echoed the perception that he’s too inexperienced and immature to run an NFL franchise this afternoon.

    I speak for all 49er fans when I say that his parents allowing him to continue running this framchise is a disgrace to the 49ers, to fans and a disgrace to all other professionals in the NFL.

  11. Trent must go for broke here. Jed usurped him with the Tomsula shoehorn, he had Adam Gase just about delivered — then “Jim Tomsula must be your DC” after Trent and Adam agreed and his staff choices (Vic as the DC) preliminary approved.

    Jed said he won’t be involved in the latest search now, a clear sign he mucked this up, and a first there are no in house candidates, which is a York staple, so it means they’re serious.

    Sean Payton will, and must, be the first domino to fall, everything moves once that settles, similarly to a big fish in NBA free agency (yes, we know Payton has 2 years left, writing is on the wall, something will be done).

  12. First off, Jeds statement about “We hang banners” is laughable!! Jed, you never hung a banner, Eddie hung banners. Turn the team back over to Eddie so more banners can be hung. I’m a 49ers fan and seriously hope they never win a championship as long as Jed is owner. Eddie made a mistake and handed the team over with the agreement and understanding he would get it back after his suspension. But Jed and his wife reneged. Jed you have no football sense to run the 49we organization. Please quite ASAP.

  13. Remember, Harbaugh went 1-4 down the stretch of the 2014 season, offense completely inept, capped by a loss at Oakland.

    Kaepernick sacked 52 times, franchise record.

  14. Most hated owner in the NFL by his own teams fans..he’s entering the point of no return. Something has to change quick, or it’s going to be an even uglier relationship with niner fans moving forward.

    #BillsMafia

  15. Im pretty sure it was Scott McCloughan who built the sb roster not Baalke. McCloughan is with the Redskins now and they are in the playoffs.

  16. Baalke isn’t going anywhere. They hired and fired Mike Singletary. They hired and fired Jim Harbaugh. They hired and fired Jim Tomsula. Obviously Trent Baalke is the one calling the shots in Santa Clara, not Jed York.

  17. Everyone called Stephn Ross an idiot ( and as a dolphins fan, he certainly is) but if Harbaugh could do it all over again, he’d jump all over that 10 mil a year to coach Miami and he’d still be down there winning too.

  18. The arrogance and ineptness speaks volumes. For the 49ers fans who wanted Harbaugh gone, how do you feel now?

  19. thepopefromtv says: Trent Baalke deserves so much credit for bringing in talented players year in and year out. His problem is bringing in talented coaches. He doesn’t. Maybe he can’t scout coaches as well as players or maybe the best coaches just don’t agree with how he operates. Either way Trent Baalke is one of the best GMs in the league, and also the biggest obstacle holding the 49ers back.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The last half of your last sentence is the only thing I think I can agree with as long as you add the owner as also being a co-obstacle……..The rest of your statement is simply off target and laughable.

  20. Pure conjecture here, but the fact that Baalke remained with the team despite the outcry for York to clean house, tells me that last year Baalke picked
    Adam Gase but last minute Denise York and/or Marathe stepped in and put the squeeze on Jed to go with family favorite and cheap hire Tomsula.

    That’s the only thing that would explain the Adam Gase debacle all the way up to Marathe and Tomsula leaving and Jed basically giving Baalke one more chance to prove he’s worthy.

    Point is, Jed is now at a crossroads. If he’s as serious about winning as he claims he is, he needs to cut the umbilical chord from Mommy and make his own decisions. Until he does that, the dysfunction at the top will keep trickling down onto the field sunday after sunday.

  21. Glad baalke is put on notice and I like what Jed said. It’s true!! Every year we as a fan base and franchise expect a Super Bowl. Is it realistic? No!! But it’s all about the ring or it don’t mean a thing. Who gives a damn about how many NFC west titles we’ve won. Around here we hang Super Bowl banners not division titles. It’s all about the Lombardi and if the owners/gm/coaches/players are not in it to win a Lombardi then I don’t want them apart of my favorite team.

    Now it’s time for Jed to put up or shut up along with baalke. They have a top ten pick and top 5 cap money to spend. Get a qualified coach and staff. Hit a few singles and hopefully at least one homerun in the draft and get this franchise back to what the 49ER Faithful expect.

  22. For the multiple comments about Harbaugh’s last year….. injury depleted roster, constant leaks from within the organization about firing him, heck even the near trade of him before the season. There was not a winning atmosphere in San Fran that year. I also don’t think you’d have seen the mass defections you saw this year if JH had been the HC.

  23. Jed admitted he knows nothing about football today. Next time he will admit he knows nothing about hiring football people – particularly Baalke, and maybe then, if he also fades away and back to mommy and daddy, the team will have hope.

  24. bittersportspills says: Jan 4, 2016 8:38 PM

    Who was supposed to win with that roster?
    ————————————————–

    Great question. Let’s ask Jed York.

    ‘Jed, why the dismissal of two coaches in 2 years?’

    “We’re in need of somebody that can win Super Bowls,” York said.

    ‘Jed, sorry you ha..you’ve got mustard on your tie. You want me to help you with that?

    “We’re in need of somebody that can win Super Bowls,” York said.

    ‘What?’

    “We’re in need of somebody that can win Super Bowls,” York said.

    ‘Yeah,OK, thanks, got go. Can you validate my parking, Mr. York?

    “We’re in need of somebody that can win Super Bowls,” York said.

    ‘Mr York, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.’

  25. His comments about personality and sociability not mattering to me indicates Chip Kelly is his prime target. Don’t buy that he can win Super Bowls personally.

  26. 49ers are 51-93 under the ownership of the Yorks. They simply suck as owners of a professional sports team. Period

  27. kimboluther says:
    Jan 4, 2016 9:00 PM

    Remember, Harbaugh went 1-4 down the stretch of the 2014 season, offense completely inept, capped by a loss at Oakland.

    Kaepernick sacked 52 times, franchise record.
    —————————-

    Good grief, Harbaugh took them to the NFCCG multiple times, and to the Super Bowl. You don’t go stupid and fire that head coach after one down season.

    And if you do go stupid and fire that guy, you sure as heck don’t hire a guy like Tomsula to replace him.

  28. I wish the 49’s well and, at M, we will gladly accept any other coaches or employees who do not meet your high standards.

  29. I’ve been one of Jed’s harshest critics, but give him a little credit Florio. I think in his press conference he sounded somewhat humbled. And acknowledged the comments he made last year during the season should have never been made. But we all know you hate the Niners.

  30. In York and Baalke’s minds they built a Super Bowl team and Harbaugh was just the coach who blew it. They are two fools who think they are smarter than everyone.

  31. This is a sad state of affairs, for a noble franchise. The owner should simply sit back & let the magic happen; all the pieces were there? Except, he chose to listen to the man that doesn’t know anything about coaching, but probably able to point to decent players that are on the spread sheet.

    Trent Baalke, is the Dick Cheney of the Bush administration, as Jed York is GW. Jed York listened to Baalke in the worst way. I think he was convinced, he could save pennies by doing so? Too bad. Jim Harbaugh had the team in the right direction. Why was Trent Baalke not going to appreciate Jim Harbaugh’s formula, if it was working?

    Maybe I am off base? Who was it that drafted Alex Smith 1st, when he could have been around for the 2nd round? Arron Rogers was still on the board & was picked up by GB. Then, whose idea was it to shelf Smith, after Kaeperknick was picked up? Then, to make it worse, Kaeperknick falls the wayside. That development followed the mass exit of key players early “retirement”. Who was resonsible for all that?

  32. “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Carlos Hyde says:
    Jan 4, 2016 10:27 PM
    I’ve been one of Jed’s harshest critics, but give him a little credit Florio. I think in his press conference he sounded somewhat humbled. And acknowledged the comments he made last year during the season should have never been made. But we all know you hate the Niners.”
    ==================================

    Long time 49ers fan here since the 70s. Florio is spot on. The Yorks deserve all the scorn they get, especially the kid born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has had everything in his life handed to him. He’s out of his depth here. I wouldn’t put him on the incompetency level of Haslam or Irsay, but he’s in the next bottom tier of Davis, Jerrah Jones, Dan Snyder, Woody Johnson, and Ross.

  33. Sounds like Baalke feels left out. All he has to do is open the door and walk out. Both he and York seem to be looking for sympathy and understanding. OK we have a lot of sympathy for you guys and I understand that the best thing for you two is to leave. Give the Niners back to the fans and get out of the way.

  34. My advice for York is to bring back his uncle Eddie DeBartolo after Hall of Fame announcements are over.

    If not, hire him as a “consultant” and bring back Carmen Policy back simultaneously or beforehand.

  35. As an Arizona Cardinals fan, I never thought the Bidwills would be far, far better than the 49ers’ ownership. That day has finally come and the 49ers now have the Bidwills to look up to.

  36. sporkey3 says:
    Jan 4, 2016 9:10 PM

    Im pretty sure it was Scott McCloughan who built the sb roster not Baalke. McCloughan is with the Redskins now and they are in the playoffs.

    He also helped the Seahawks draft some great players.

  37. Most niner fans knew last summer that this season was going to be a disaster. I was fully prepared to blame it on Baalke and York. But even the casual observer knew there were big problems with the O-Line in preseason. Yet week after week after week they put Devey and Pears out there even though they were rated the worst pair in the league by objective measures. It took way way too long to get T Brown and Zimmerman into the lineup. And then we see on third down, pass after pass that is caught short of the chains for a quick tackle and a punt. I suspect that that was how he was coached, but even it came from Gabbart, some one should have been on his _ss for not at least trying for the third down. Neither York or Baalke have made a case for being elite, but the bulk of the problems this season had to do with coaching.

  38. The manner that York and Baalke fired Harbaugh is worse than the firing itself.

    Their justification for firing a great and fan favorite coach blew up in their face. I would have respect for York and Baalke if they were honest to themselves, their players, and the Forty-Niners nation.

  39. The Niners accidentally stumbled into Bill Walsh. If anyone bothers to remember, Eddie D. originally hired the not-so-great Joe Thomas to run the franchise, which until them was a doormat. Look it up.

  40. If I were owner of the 49ers, Ballke would have been fired 3 years ago. He has proven he is not good enough and has clashed with too many people already.

  41. Chip Kelly won’t work due to players not buying in after rumors on the NFL player grape vine. Frank Gore was almost an Eagle but though better of it after talking to Eagles players. Kelly is not respected on a personal level by many NFL players. So scratch him off.

    In my opinion that leaves three realistic options and a fourth fall back option. In order of best to worst IMHO:

    1. Payton
    2. Shanahan
    3. Jackson

    4. Homgren

    No one else should even be considered at this point. Except maybe Josh McDaniels.

  42. Trent Baalke has complete control of Jed York, and Jed is fine with that. Baalke makes it up as he goes. He has complete control, but he keeps that door open just enough to put the blame on someone else. Once again, Jed’s ok with that. The Yorks are making tons and tons of money, and that’s really all that matters to the Yorks. Unfortunately, you can say the same thing about most owners. The successful ones usually just stumble onto a HOF QB and the winning comes easy. As soon as that HOF QB retires, the losing usually returns. This isn’t nuclear science.

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