Nearly every column after Jed York’s press conference last week called for the CEO to hire a VP of Football Operations, a position that would assist him in the GM/coach search and serve as a necessary buffer between the ownership group and the football operation.
Trent Baalke’s personal relationship with York granted him extra years on the job. Silly stuff like that wouldn’t happen with a VP of Football Operations in place.
But York was adamant he could turn the 49ers around by himself and that no extra position of power would be needed.
“So, ultimately the decision will rest with me,” said York. “I will look at people inside the building and continue to consult people outside of the building, folks that I trust, folks that are very well respected. But, our system and our structure is going to be a head coach and a general manager and ultimately that decision will rest with me.”
Well, the Jaguars have become the latest team to add a VP of Football Operations to their staff, surprisingly hiring Tom Coughlin to the position on Monday.
Coughlin, of course, coached the Jaguars from 1995-2002, before taking over the New York Giants from 2004-2015. He won two Super Bowls in New York, and immediately gives credibility to this Jaguars rebuild. Jacksonville hired head coach Doug Marrone on Monday and extended GM Dave Caldwell’s contract, insuring Coughlin won’t step on his toes.
Whether or not this ends up panning out for the Jaguars, you have to admire them for taking a step like this. Adding Coughlin to the fold will cost a pretty penny and will make other people in the building feel less powerful. But owner Shahid Khan is admitting his organization needs a wise elder statesmen to make sure a winning culture is properly being established. Hiring Marrone wasn’t going to be enough. Coughlin helping call the shots from behind the scenes gives the Jaguars hope.
It’s been reported that Bill Parcells is advising Jed York — something we were critical about. Parcells has likely been advising York and former GM Trent Baalke on other big decisions like Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, which have backed the 49ers in a corner. Coughlin’s gruff attitude might not mix well with York, anyways.
And ultimately, it looks like York is still going to be able to make a splash hire. Either Josh McDaniels or Sean McVay at head coach, paired with Louis Riddick or Eliot Wolf at GM is quite an attractive duo on paper. Luckily for York, the 49ers brand name still has an allure about it.
But as Jacksonville hits the re-set button with Tom Coughlin now in their front office, it lends credibility to the direction they are heading. Not many coaches have won two Super Bowls in the last 10 years — against the New England Patriots, nonetheless.
The 49ers shouldn’t be mad they missed out on Coughlin, but this type of executive hiring is something York’s organization needs.