During his turbulent Jan. 2 press conference, I had one question for 49ers CEO Jed York:
Do you understand and recognize leaking the news of Chip Kelly’s firing is exactly what’s wrong with your organization?
“You have a two-win team that people have been speculating that there were going to be decisions that were made for the last month,” York began. “I wish that it would have been cleaner…”
This exact leaking culture in San Francisco, and the fact that York didn’t see any negative consequences with it, was a major concern to GM John Lynch, too. As he started to become intrigued with this job opportunity, making sure news didn’t hit the national media was the one litmus test Lynch had to make sure York and Paraag Marathe could pass.
“One of the great and liberating things for me, and I think why this thing came to fruition, I made a big deal that this stay quiet,” Lynch said Wednesday morning on KNBR 680. “First of all, you know what I was doing? Part of the rumors are things fly out of that building. And I wanted to see if I could trust this person. And so that was part of my thinking.”
A revealing, honest answer from the man who will now lead the 49ers. It’s encouraging that Lynch has recognized this free flow of information coming out of Santa Clara as a problem, and it suggests he may now be in control of what does and does not see the light of day.
A winning football team can keep some secrets in-house. York no longer needs buddies in the national media to spin news for him on Colin Kaepernick or Jim Harbaugh. Lynch is now the communicator for the franchise, not Adam Schefter or Ian Rapoport.
In fact, Lynch’s relationship with York will be paramount if the 49ers are able to achieve sustained success over a prolonged period. York became entirely too close of friends with Trent Baalke, which arguably blinded him from all the football operations mistakes his former GM was making.
It’ll be up to Lynch to both make York feel like he’s involved but also no getting too chummy with his boss.
“(Jed’s) tired of some strife and contention in the building. He wants harmony,” Lynch said. “He wants to give us the resources. He wants to be a support mechanism. But he wants to get out of the way and let us work. To me, that’s an awesome deal.”
Not matter what Lynch says, York’s prior history will not give this regime the benefit of the doubt from a wounded and frustrated 49ers fan base. Lynch will continue to win the PR battle for the 49ers in every interview he does — make no mistake, that was part of why he was hired.
But winning press conferences, free agent signings and the draft will matter very little in San Francisco, until Sunday football games turn into victory Monday’s again.
“I’m aware of (the negativity) just from being a football fan,” Lynch said. “As an analyst you have to stay up on the whole league. So, yes, I’ve seen some negativity. I can tell you my experience being around this league, 15 years as a player, eight-plus as a broadcaster, that’s the reality. When you aren’t winning, there’s going to be negativity. I do know that exists.
“Are there skeptics? Absolutely. Should there be skeptics? Absolutely. I understand that. And I understand the only way we change those skeptical thoughts from people is to win. That’s what this league is all about. I won’t make any promises as to when that will happen, but we’re going to work our tail off and I’m going to surround myself with great people that can fill some of my deficiencies.”