Jed York, the young CEO of the 49ers, got off to a rocky start when he took over control of the team in 2008.
Right off the bat, he made a two-part mistake.
- He hired the wrong head coach – Mike Singletary.
- He rushed to hire him.
As you may recall, York signed Singletary to a four-year contract extension after the Niners came back to beat the Redskins 27-24 on December 28, 2008. Typically, team owners hire a general manager who then hires a head coach, and they do this in the offseason so they can interview more than one candidate.
York skipped all those steps and went straight to hiring the coach.
But he learned from that mistake quickly, firing Singletary after the 2010 season and hiring Trent Baalke to be the General Manager. Baalke, as you know, went on to become the 2011 NFL Executive of the Year, partly because he hired Jim Harbaugh, who was the 2011 NFL Head Coach of the Year.
In the NFL, a good owner hires a good general manager and gets out of the way. That’s exactly what York has done since he hired Baalke, and he deserves tremendous credit for that.
York gets credit for one more thing, and it’s a big thing – he’s building a new stadium. Not even his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the owner of the Niners through their five Super Bowl victories, could make that happen.
In the world of NFL owners, York started out as a junior partner, but he’s rapidly grown into one of the elite owners in the league.