York's first call was to Uncle Eddie

York's first call was to Uncle Eddie
January 19, 2012, 11:46 pm
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The first call Jed York made upon departing Candlestick Park last Saturday in the wake of the 49ers' divisional playoff win over New Orleans?To his uncle and godfather Eddie DeBartolo."To see if he'd be the honorary captain," York, the 49ers President and CEO, said on a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon. "Without the hard work my uncle put in, the brand would not be what it is."
DeBartolo may have been shamed with his connection to gambling and corruption in Louisiana and forced to give up his ownership stake in the 49ers at the turn of the century, but those are not the memories coursing through the veins of the 49ers Faithful this week, as the team prepares to play host to the New York Giants Sunday in the NFC title game.No wonder the 30-year-old York, who was some 10 months old when The Catch went down and the dynasty was born, has been having so many flashbacks this week. York grew up in the 49ers dynasty of the 80's and was 13 when the 49ers won their fifth, and most recent Super Bowl, in 1995."I am a balding guy, though" he said with a laugh, "so it might make me look old."Driving around San Francisco, York has seen "people wearing Niners gear they busted out of their closet they haven't worn in 10 years."People are walking around in Frank Gore and Patrick Willis (jerseys) just as much as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig. It's pretty cool to see."A year ago, York was lambasted for predicting the 49ers would win the NFC West after starting the season 0-5. Now, he is one step away from the biggest sporting event in the country."Our internal expectations and external expectations are always different," he said. "We expect to compete for a Super Bowl every year. I realize this wasn't on everybody's radar screen."York was also asked about a variety of other topics on the callOn if the plan is still to be in a new stadium in Santa Clara in 2014: "I don't know if that's possible. I think 2015 is achievable."On the visiting fans who reported being harassed at the game last week: "That was a very small segment from Saints fans. And I apologize for any rudeness that might have happenedthat type of behavior is not tolerated." (York also said there would be more undercover police in the stadium this week.)On what appeals to him about coach Jim Harbaugh: "He's very enthusiastic but it's a very focused enthusiasm. You know what you're going to get with Jim and I just think it's very consistentJim has a great work ethic and a competitive spirit."On why Harbaugh connects with QB Alex Smith: "You need somebody that understands the most important position on the field."On when the players bought into Harbaugh: "The guys know when people are BS'ing them, because they see it all the time. They feel Jim's just-genuine spiritit's real and that means a lot to these guys." (York said Harbaugh and Kyle Williams were discussing in the lunch room today who they thought was the best baseball player of all time.)On Alex Smith's development: "I'm so happy for Alex. He's battled a lot in his career herequarterbacking in this league is so much aboutdeveloping a guy.your need to have somebody who can bring out those thingsit would have been easy (for Alex) to say, 'Let's find a different place.' He wanted to be here because he's a 49er."On Smith's future with the 49ers: "It's a two-way street and we'll get to that when the season's over. I'm very glad he is our quarterback. I hope he wants to stay here."On this year's team developing its own tradition: "It's not Joe Montana, it's not Steve Young, it's not Jerry Rice, and that's O.K.try to be something you're not, you most likely fail."

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