49ers face facts about their identity

This is my Saturday column.


Do the 49ers have a face?

They certainly used to. They had Jim Harbaugh, hands down the face of the franchise the past few seasons.

Who made the Niners nationally relevant for the first time since the ‘90s’?


Who made them winners again?


Who made it possible for the Niners to build a new stadium?


Who did the cameras constantly cut to during telecasts of 49ers games?


Who spoke daily for the franchise, spoke for CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke, spoke about matters he shouldn’t have had to speak about like grass or Ray McDonald’s various arrests?


He was bigger than the team. With Harbaugh, the 49ers weren’t the 49ers — they were Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers, like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The Niners were Harbaugh’s backup band.

Before Harbaugh, the Niners had Steve Young, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Bill Walsh and Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Each was a face of the franchise. Each was a face of the NFL.

Do the Niners have a face anymore?

Maybe. I can think of two candidates.

The first one is general manager Trent Baalke, the NFL’s executive of the year in 2011. The man who drafted NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Colin Kaepernick. One of the shrewdest general managers in the NFL. An unorthodox thinker. A trend-setter when it comes to signing and drafting players. A maverick.

Even with all of his good qualities, Baalke shouldn’t be the face of the 49ers. If the face of a franchise is the GM, that franchise suffers from “Billy Beane Syndrome.”

That’s when a team’s roster and coaching staff is in flux, and the one constant is the guy who’s constantly hiring, firing and trading people. Some of the moves might make sense or seem clever or even brilliant, but they never add up to a championship.

When a franchise suffers from Beane Syndrome, you can’t help but wonder if the GM keeps trading or cutting people because secretly he wants to be the face of the franchise, wants all the credit and fame for himself.

Clearly the A’s suffer from Beane Syndrome. Let’s give the Niners the benefit of the doubt and say they don’t.

In that case — if Baalke’s isn’t the face of the franchise — who is?

Colin Kaepernick, right?

He’s the quarterback, he won playoff games, he played in a Super Bowl and he’s famous — non-football fans know who he is.

The past few years he couldn’t have been the face of the franchise because he lived in Harbaugh’s shadow. Kaepernick was Harbaugh’s pet project. Kaepernick even talked like Harbaugh at times during press conferences.

Is Kaepernick ready to step out of Harbaugh’s shadow and replace him as The Man on the Niners?

Consider what he did on Instagram this Tuesday.

He posted a picture of cars submerged under water in the Houston flood, and he wrote the following caption under the picture: “I warned you the #7tormsComing !!! #Houston”.

Let me try to explain what he wrote. This offseason, Kaepernick has tagged his twitter posts and Instagram posts with “#7tormsComing,” because he’s No. 7 and he intends to take the NFL by storm next season. Or something. He intends the “7” to be an “s.”

So when the floods hit Houston, Kaepernick’s initial reaction was to make a joke, to imply that he was the 7torm.

He didn’t realize the 7torm killed 15 people. Two hours later, he tweeted the following apology: “I’m so sorry about my insensitive post earlier today. I didn’t fully understand how many people are struggling in Houston right now and I feel horrible. My prayers are with everyone there.”

All credit to Kaepernick for apologizing. Maybe he realized what he had done, or maybe someone explained to him the mistake he had made.

Either way, his initial comment was immature — that’s the nicest thing you can say about it. If you want to be harsh, you’d say his comment way babyish. Making fun of a natural disaster and spelling “storm” with a “7” instead of an “s”? That’s middle school stuff.

The face of the franchise has to be a grownup, and Kaepernick isn’t one quite yet. It’s not clear if, as a player, he’s even good enough to be the face.

Right now, the 49ers are faceless. They need to find a face in the upcoming season. Will they? Who will it be?

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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  1. Excellent article Grant…Time someone’s done some psychoanalysis of the 49ers modus operandi, and I think your’s is perfect. I especially like the line about his moves being clever, but never adding up to a Championship….As far as his QB here’s what others in the business think of Kap……………http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/05/22/new-49ers-running-back-says-colin-kaepernick-owes-him-a-thumb/


  2. Kap is definitely immature. When I first heard about this i thought it had to do with the Warriors vs Houston and Kap was making a reference to Goldenstate storming ROckets. how silly of me. kap was talking about himself. Is there another nfl qb who is this publicly self absorbed. Is there another NFL qb who dresses and acts like a 14 year old skate boarder. Can you imagine a circumstance in which his contemporaries Luck or Russ willson would do this? The other issue which has been discussed is that Kap has zero impulse control : this incident, chiming in on Brady/deflate gate, twitter battle with fan, allegedly using profanity against Bears …

    He is without question the most athletically gifted qb in the league, but some of his rash decision making are puzzling if not disturbing.

    1. No he wasn’t talking about himself..The joke was that he was a prophet and told u the storm was coming…Not making fun of the storm.

      .but it’s much ado about nothing…people dealing with the storms got bigger problems to deal with..than to worry about a kap instagram that the media wants to create news out of.

      .And how he dresses is a petty picky argument.Who are u? The fashion police?lol..u only see Kap for 3hrs on tv during the week..Leave it there..U want to criticize his playing style..Fine..buy How he dress..or whatever.

      U have no control over him..u don’t run him…So it’s crazy to get upset over such little things…

      Kap had a target on his back..the minute Harbaugh annointed him the Starter…just the way it is..it’s sad..
      so people are gonna be a lil hateful and discriminatory towards him fron the getgo..

      1. What? I hope you are not accusing me of being discriminatory. it is reasonable to expect qbs to be the leaders of their team on and off the field and carry themselves in a professional manner. I believe kap falls short. Have you seen any of his press conferences?

        anyway, back to he ducks game. bh are up 2-0 at the end of the frist.

        1. They say clothes don’t make the man..I only care about how the quarterback of my team plays..he didn’t break the law… like I said .he’s had a target on his back since he was annointed starter..his tattoos,hat to the back,headphones..etc..whatever,he gets labeled alot of things..that falls under discrimination..Keep it on football..is basically my point..

          1. Deezybee- I am in total agreement with your posts. I would like to add that discrimination does not have to be a negative. The meaning of the word has been distorted for what seems like a sociological indoctrination purposes. It is only a negative when it is motivated by a preconceived bias. To discriminate is to be selective. To make it a bad word is to question a persons right to chose. To discriminate does not automatically make you a bigot.

            In the case of Kaepernick most of the negative do have a preconceived bias to them. Some of them being based on racial stereotypes while others are not but never the less also bigoted. Kaep marching to his own drummer and not fitting the stereotype of an old school QB in the way he plays his position, dresses and not wanting to give up his sense of individuality for the sake of pleasing others, makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

            He was in the cross hairs of those who loved Alex, Those traditionalists who believe that a QB needs to stay in the pocket, and those fans from other franchises who believe that they need to tear down other QB to make their QB look better. Also being different and a good news story from the word go, everything he still does is magnified by the media who are constantly looking for things to write about in the off season. Kaep has become the focal point and battle ground symbolically for a lot of people. Even people who do not like that our society has become ghetto and thugized for commercial purposes. It doesn’t matter that he is really not a thug, to them he looks like one. That is the foundation of bigotry. When a person is prejudged based purely on appearance and stereotype.

            1. “Even people who do not like that our society has become ghetto and thugized for commercial purposes. It doesn’t matter that he is really not a thug, to them he looks like one. That is the foundation of bigotry. When a person is prejudged based purely on appearance and stereotype.”
              ~ Willtalk

              There may be some truth in your last sentence, but I don’t believe it’s the overriding reason for any negative fan reaction towards Kaep.

              The racial bias statement also has a modicum of truth, but CK is not breaking any new ground here in that QB’ of color have been in the league for over 40 years (Eldridge Dickey, Merlin Brisco, Est. 1960′). And Doug Williams won a Superbowl in the late 80’s.

              Kaep’ poor decisions based on immaturity off and on the field are what I believe are at the center of the criticism.
              Wearing a Dolphins cap was not breaking the law, but it certainly was a poor choice and it painted CK as a person that places very little thought in making actions that lead to negative results.
              That same lack of thought process was evident this past week in his tweet: “I warned you the #7tormsComing !!! #Houston”.
              Again, Kaep did not break any law, and his insensitive comments had nothing to do with his ethnicity, they were just the results of immature actions.
              CK has shown immaturity on the field as well. Calling an opposing player the “N” word was poor judgement. Getting into trash-talking bouts with opposing players is also a show of immaturity because it effects his game.

              I don’t place much weight on the FOTF label that Grant brings up. What I want to see in Kaep is a player that is ready to take the reigns of this team and lead it to the next level.
              He can only do this when he starts to make better and well thought out choices.

              1. I think Colin’s “sins” are less personal and more symptomatic of where our culture is today. Phillip Rivers jawing with fans near the tunnel. Colin’s storm tweet or his jawing with opposing players, Raider LBs celebrating behind opponents’ huddle and not getting lined up for the next play, Any defensive player pounding his chest after making a routine tackle. These seem as ordinary as they are annoying in the current “Me, me, me!” culture of tweets and selfies. David Brooks explores that element of culture in his book “The Road to Character” for those interested.

  3. Grant,
    You raised a point that I’ve discussed with other people and it’s one I agree with. The point about Harbaugh being the front and center of the 49ers universe for the 4 years he was here. You’re right in the fact that Harbaugh was the first person you thought about when you mentioned the 49ers. That’s not a knock against him or anything, that’s just the way it was.

    This year is a golden opportunity for someone (preferably a player) to step into that role. As it stands now, I think they have a couple candidates. You mentioned Kaepernick’s maturity level, which is fair to question at times, but I think he can be that face. It seems like he wants to and tries to be, he just has to go about it the right way and not get so caught up in the little things. Will he be? That’s another question, but I think they’ll give him every chance to claim that spot. Bowman is another guy who can fill that role. He’s a guy who leads by example, works hard, and has the game to back it up. Guys seem to have a ton of respect for him. If I had to pick right now, he would be the guy.

  4. Grant, I regularly read your articles and whether I agree or not I find them thought provoking. Here’s are some thoughts about future articles. What could go right?, as in the unexpected. What could go wrong? I think a bunch of us are skeptical of Tomsula as a creative and dynamic coach. Biggest future disappointments, e.g. V Davis last year. Biggest future surprises, Harbaugh firing (although the writing was on the wall). Which assistant coach will shine? Which one won’t. Biggest rookie impact. Anyway some food for thought. I look forward to your articles.

    Kind regards,

  5. Kaepernick is an NHRA dragster in a Formula 1 race. Just because you have the most horsepower doesn’t always mean you are suited for that race.

  6. To make a big deal out of the Instagram is in of itself immature….

    Harbaugh was the big oak taking up all the light whom ownership considered too lofty, and couldn’t be happy made in his shade. They chopped him down and now the light shines on the many faces of the team. I expect one to grow taller and distinguish himself as the season waxes and perhaps be the “Face” you so desperately seek….

      1. Hammer,
        Kaep has not broken any law. CK is only guilty of being immature.
        Sure, there have been bad decisions such as wearing a dolphins cap, letting a tweeter get under his skin, and the incident a couple of years ago in Miami in which he was found not to be involved (Ian Rapoport: Miami-Dade PO Ed Griffith: “The essence is, there was no indication of a sexual assault, so nothing was filed.” And that’s that.
        9:53 AM – 12 Jun 2014).

        But as I said earlier, Kaep has never asked to be the FOTF, that is merely media induced hyperbole. What he has said is that he will work very hard to be a very good QB.
        Yes, I would like to CK become more mature, but what I want to see more is Kaep become a proficient QB that gives the team a chance at winning every time he goes out on the field.

          1. Some are expected to. Many cant pull it off: Leaf, RG3?, Steve Young at Tampa, Vick, Harrington, etc.
            Some can: Peyton, Luck, Elway.
            Some who were never expected to did: Montana, Steve Young at SF, Brady, Wilson.

            1. Being expected to and being asked to are two different things though. Sometimes the player just becomes the face without being expected to. They’re never asked that I know of.

          2. Mid,
            That is my point.
            No player will ever ask to be the face of the franchise because that label does not always equate to playing on a great team – just ask players like Archie Manning, Barry Sanders, Charles Barkley and many others that could be given that title, yet, are bereft of being on consistently winning teams.

    1. Razor ..

      Your metaphors never cease to amaze me ..
      Have you ever considered writing a column
      of your own .. ? ..
      Ya know .. like Jack does ..

      I think you might be good at it

      1. No, but I appreciate and thank you for the compliment. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the pads to go on….

    2. Sorry Razor, but you don’t make of any natural disaster. EVER. I don’t care if it’s to make a point or to use as a punch line. You just don’t do it. People can lose everything in auch events, including loved ones or their own lives. It is a big deal, and Kaep should have known better. But once again it’s another shining example of Kaep’s immaturity.

    3. Shakespeare, er, sorry, I mean, Razor,

      If you’re saying the new “Face of the Team” will emerge organically, then I agree 100%.

      If you’re saying something else, then I lack the ability to decipher your prose.

  7. Yeah, now all we’ve got is a D-Line coach straight out of a Welcome Back Kotter episode, with 6th grade English and communication skills to boot, who has inexplicably been catapulted to HC, Mike Singletary style. He will never question Baalke and he will be every player’s best friend. And he won’t engage in frustrated antics on the sideline, which is enough to make young Jed happy. And when he finishes 5 – 11 this year, young Jed will have all the excuses ready, because his finger prints are all over this mess, and he has too much face to lose.

  8. Good thought provoking ideas Grant. I can’t resist pointing out that you’ve really been using the ol’ bean lately.

  9. Another long drawn-out sub story as a prelude to target Kaep. C’mon Grant, you can’t get out of your own way bud.
    Yes, CK made a stupidly immature comment this past week which he apologized for, but the guy is a freakin’ football player not a candidate for a senate office.
    Guess what? T.Brady, M.Vick were branded as ‘face of their teams’ and have made mistakes. In Brady’ case he is no longer young and immature.

    Also, Kaep has never said that he aspired to be the ‘face of the team’ which is a moniker that people in your business have created. The media takes pride in two things: glorifying people and destroying them when they do wrong – in your business it happens to be the nature of the beast.

    Being young does not give us a right to make foolish and inexcusable decisions but it happens, just ask Anthony Davis if he wanted “the shrieking like little girl” comment posted on this blog for hundreds to read?
    Yup, we all could display a good size montage of foolish things we’ve done and said. All we could do is learn from our mistakes and hopefully avoid making them again.

  10. Some of the things that you said are very correct. I am a season ticket holder, and one of the reasons that I moved back to the USA (Reno Nevada) was because of the hiring of Harbaugh and the drafting of Kaepernick in 2011. I thought that these were brilliant moves.

    Harbaugh is gone, and this may well be Kaepernick’s last year with the 49ers if he doesn’t demonstrate “brilliance” this season. It’s off to a bad start with the Houston tweet.

    I’ve said this before and I will say it again: The 49ers should force Colin to delete ALL social media from his personal devices (phones and computer) and allow a PR professional to handle it for him. This will allow Colin to remove distractions and focus on what really matters: Football, and a personal life that only includes truly supportive people.

    My “Faith” is being severely tested right now. I spent a ton of money on 2 great seats at Levi’s, and the design, location and all issues surrounding this stadium are a complete farce, at best. Candlestick was imperfect, but it was a lovable old mother, and at least it was in SAN FRANCISCO. It is hard for me to call this team the “San Francisco 49ers” when the whole operation is in Santa Clara. It might as well be in Fresno or Bakersfied. The different in culture, geography, climate and architecture between San Francisco and Santa Clara is like night and day.

    I will still go to the games and support the team, but it is not as enjoyable as going to a game at Candlestick.

  11. Every year every team has to redefine itself; every team is new, especially since free agency. I’m in agreement with Grant that this team and franchise (separately) has to reinvent and redefine itself. This will be done on the field; performance talks, b*##^%*t walks.
    I think Grant is talking about two things here, mixing Face Of The Franchise with Team Leader. Ron Lott & Joe Cool were the team leaders, but BW was the unquestioned face of the franchise, and was so in as much of a dominating and domineering way as Harbaugh was.
    Some push the idea that Jim T. is an Aww Shucks guy (true), and a dim, brown nose (not & not). There have been plenty of Aw Shucks guys who’ve done pretty well: Madden and Bum Phillips
    Come to mind.
    Let’s look too at the dredged up complaint from Lowell, Grant, TK et al that Harbaugh shouldn’t have had to address the stadium turf issue. Poppycock! He is by definition the Head Coach and public spokesman for the franchise who was asked a question at the Head Coach’s Press Conference about the new field and the safety of his players. Who is going to field that question if not the HC?
    Is TK going to get an interview with the Owner? About sod? Please.
    Is Lowell going to get an interview with the General Manager about landscaping and turf? No on the question and no on LC getting a frank interview with Trent.
    If someone asks Tomsula a turf question, should he dodge it? Defer to Trent, on sod? No, he’d answer it as best he could because as HC he is the Voice of The Franchise, even if you don’t like the way he looks, dresses, or speaks. Will Grant feel sorry for Jim if he gets abandoned by JY and TB to speak to the media at the HC’s Press
    Finally, as to Kaep, we’re waiting for more progress as a QB, but I keep remembering Steve Young equating pro quarterbacking to getting a PhD. It takes a while for most. CK’s combination of promise, talent, uber-competitiveness and immaturity remind me of the early days of Phillip Rivers.

  12. You’re correct in that we currently don’t have a face of the franchise Grant. Hopefully one is established before the end of the season.

  13. This whole “face of the franchise” label is a trumped up creation by the media which I find ridiculous.
    Who was the face of the franchise when the the raiders beat the Eagles in the Superbowl or when the Steelers won a SB with a rookie QB (Rothlisberger) at the helm?

    If Grant needs a “face of the franchise” he could continue to try and find one.

    What the 49ers need are players that strive and aspire to become great, compete, and work hard to make players around them better year in and year out.
    Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, and NaVarro Bowman were never the face of the 49ers, but they were exactly what made this team a winner.
    Give me great players any day of the week over a FOTF player, because one player won’t win you a Superbowl.

    1. Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, and NaVarro Bowman were never the face of the 49ers, but they were exactly what made this team a winner.

      Yeah, I’m gonna hafta disagree with that.

      1. Mid,
        Look at Grant’ premise. He clearly states “face of the franchise” not faces. I said that the aforementioned players were what made the 49ers winners.

        Can you tell me who was the one (which is Grant’ topic) ‘face of the franchise’ during their playing days here?

        1. Joe Montana. Ask fans of the team and not who they first think of when talking about the 49ers dynasty of the 80s and I guarantee you that most will say Joe Montana.

          1. Mid,
            I was referring to your 10:58am reply.
            Which one the players that I mentioned (J.Smith, P.Willis, F.Gore, N.Bowman) were considered the ONE FOTF (which is Grant’ premise) in your opinion?

  14. The Steelers won the Super Bowl after Rothlisberger’s rookie season.

    This whole “face of the franchise” label is a trumped up creation by the media which I find ridiculous.

    That isn’t completely true. The ‘face of the franchise’ is a creation of the sports world in general, from the media to the fans to the franchises themselves. The franchises look for a prominent (and usually likeable) persona that they can market. The fans (for or against the team) look for a persona that they can say represents the team and its culture. And then the media looks for a persona that can sell their stories good or negative.

    1. Mid,
      With all due respect, the NFL has survived, check that, has thrived long before the inception of the FOTF concept.
      The game has prospered because of it’s great players not because the media and fans decide who is their ‘face of the franchise’ is.

      Dick Butkis, Bart Starr, Rodger Starbaugh, Jim Brown, Johnnie Unitas, Mean Joe Green, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, and countless other players were never called the FOTF, and they were certainly are not in the HOF because of the ‘face of the franchise’ either.
      I guess fans and media love to feel that by applying certain monikers or labels on players gives them a sense empowerment and that’s fine.
      To each their own.

      1. You’re taking the concept too literally AES. It was being utilized way before it received it’s new moniker. Examples include Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Dick Butkus, Joe Namath, etc. What it more or less comes down to is what persona (whether it be player, coach, or owner) is the most marketable (likeable) and is someone that can draw in more fans.

        1. You may be right Mid, I’m likely making too much of this. My take is that great players are the stuff that typically translate to great teams – not monikers or labels.
          It’s become a 21st century concept that gives media and fans alike a better and more abbreviated thought process (face of the team/franchise) of the player that stands out the most on their respected team.

          But again, it’s a creation from media and fans, not the players. As far as it being a vehicle for more marketability, I have to admit the truth in that.
          In the end, if CK is going to be the FOTF by becoming a great QB who leads this team to the post season and superbowl wins, I can live with the label.

          1. My take is that great players are the stuff that typically translate to great teams – not monikers or labels.

            I can’t subscribe to that theory. To me, it doesn’t matter if the team is great or not because it doesn’t diminish the players’ accomplishments. Usually a team needs to give that player some form of support if they want to be great. A classic example of that is Michael Jordan. He was classified as one of the elites in basketball but didn’t become a champion until he got the right coach and supporting staff.

          1. Those were just examples Razor of players that most think of when referring to teams of those eras Razor. The one for the Yankees to me for example is definitely not Babe Ruth but Lou Gehrig. Nobody personified heart, class, and work ethic like that man did.

  15. I have little doubt that Tomsula and team are good coaches. What I worry about is there ability to develop game day strategies that consistently put the team in the best position to win a game, and, just as importantly, the ability to make in-game adjustments particularly during halftime. So, if they can do that I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim Tomsula becomes the face of the franchise and possibly rookie coach of the year.

    Oh, my wife just informed me that I’m drinking 40% home-brewed schnaps instead of 20%. Hey, it could still happen.

    1. Great out because Tomsula would probably have to win the Superbowl to become coach of the year — note my out, probably.

      1. Btw HT, I enjoyed your Kezar reminiscences earlier. I have boyhood memories of going with my Dad to Franklin Field to see UPenn Quakers games where my Dad had 40 yard line seats, and occasional Eagles games where we’d sit in the Endzone seats with the Giants, Colts and Aborigines fans who rode the train to the game.
        I ran there in the Jr High and High school divisions of the Penn Relays a couple of years. The place was so empty all we could hear was our footsteps and our breathing.

  16. If the 49ers are successful this year, it will be because Carlos Hyde becomes the face of the franchise. Still love Bowman as the other face of the franchise on D.

    The ass of the franchise is Boone.

    1. Alan M,
      Just a thought; if Hyde runs for 2,000 yards this season and the 49ers only win 6-8 games will he still be considered the face of the team?
      Kaep could have a career season and the team is on the losing end of the ledger, I’m not so sure he would like the FOTF title.

          1. There’s slim to no chance for the 49ers to have an 8-8, or worse, record of either Hyde rushed for 2000 yards or CK has a great year.

            And I think “slim” is heading out of town.

      1. Let’s put it this way AES: Gore and Willis were the two constant forces on the team right from their inception even though they were were part of some bad 49er teams.

        1. Mid,
          Grant’ premise dealt with ‘one’ person being the face of the franchise – I was responding to that.

  17. “#7tormsComing” is fun. It’s Marvel Comics. It’s Spider-Man and Captain America coming to lead the 49ers to a winning season.
    Kaepernick believes he’s been transformed. He’s no longer Clark Kent. He’s Superman.
    He’ll run and pass. He’ll dazzle.
    When fans think of the 49ers, they’ll think of Kaepernick.

  18. Was the instagram post made in bad taste? Sure. But it wasn’t a big deal IMO. People are way too sensitive.

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I’ve always liked how Kaep rubs people the wrong way by not being a stereotypical robot personality. Leave the politics to the scumbags in DC.

    1. LSX …

      agree with you 100% .. and
      even though Kap has done some pretty dumb stuff ..
      I’d still like to have him autograph my #7 jersey ..

      (Besides … why do you think they put
      erasers on pencils ?)

    2. People are way too sensitive.

      Tell that to the people who lost friends and loved ones in the Houston floods.

        1. And you won’t. They’re most likely trying to move on past their grief, but it doesn’t change the fact that using a natural disaster as a punchline or to make a point is tasteless and immature.

  19. Coming from an Oakland A’s fan.
    Who is tired of players being ripped out from under this franchise by big Hawks like NY, Bos, STL……..
    You can’t always blame Beane.
    When you’re working for ownership who pinches penny’s like a starving college student. Yes trading players like Donaldson erks me at times.
    But it’s his job KNOWING his cheap bosses won’t pay big money for him when the contract is up to trade and try and get some value out of him. The way he struggled down the stretch last year was all he needed to pull the trigger early. Mistake??? Right now it looks like it. But he Moss, or cespedes aren’t going to help the horrible bullpen and health of a starting pitcher he thought would be back. Comparing beane with an Indy movie budget in a league with a blockbuster budget isn’t close to being level with a league who has a cap. Most teams WITH MONEY could only wish they had a GM like beane. Wanna bash an owner? Start in on oaklands brass… They actually deserve it more than the old Warriors ownership.

  20. As far as the FOTF….
    It’s meant for one thing. Money in the owners pocket. Other than that. It’s useless and means nothing when it comes to winning. Silent leaders in the huddle are what motivate winners. Not the guy with his picture up on screen when ESPN is talking about the team.

    1. Come to think about it, MD …

      seems like every time ESPN talks about the
      Niners … I see Kap’s pic there ..
      (unless the story is about another player) ..

      So-o-o … does that make Kap .. the FOTF ?

      Could be Grant has the answer .. ?

  21. Assuming that this team has no obvious “face of the franchise,” why don’t we shift the conversation to who is the “ass of the franchise”? There are so many contenders… it could be a rich conversation.

    I say it’s a tossup between York, Tomsula, and Boone.

  22. “face of the franchise”?

    eh, does it really matter?

    “face of the franchise” is different than an identity.

    The Niner’s on field identity hasn’t really changed: tough and physical in the trenches. hard nosed running game and a strong defense. now weather or not this stays true after all the personnel changes is another matter but for now it’s still the same identity.

    as for the “face of the franchise”. the “face” is usually a successful and outspoken person. who was it before Harbaugh? Singletary? My point being there really hasn’t been one with or without on field success. Sure they had Patrick Willis and Frank Gore but they were more demonstrative leaders and less out spoken. Grant has listed Kaepernick’s signs of immaturity as being a detriment to his ability to be “the face”. and he’s right. But then again Alex Smith was a highly respected leader on the team. But he wasn’t “face” material either. Few big plays. No big statements..etc…

    who will be the Niner’s “face”? I don’t know but success and identity on the field has to come first. So the Niners will probably a tough running physical defensive team (again). The team’s character is in the trenches. If Joe Staley had the charisma on camera in the public, he’d be a good candidate (or how about Anthony Davis…we know he can be outspoken) on defense will Bowman step out of Willis’ shadow?

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