Ratto: 49ers boss Jed York ... the big kidder

January 5, 2011, 3:53 am
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I guess Im just going to have to come to grips with the notion that Jed York was talking completely through his hat when he said he wanted a strong general manager to hire the new coach and run the 49ers' football department.

Or that Trent Baalke has strengths we didnt know about, of which one would be telling Jed where and when to get off.

Since we have no faith that the second will be allowed, we can only assume that the first is in fact what happened here. More specifically, that Jed wasted a perfectly good whopper about a strong and independent GM so that he could operate freely and without conduits between him and the football team himself.

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Or that he just wants to feel involved in the process.

Either way, whether the 49ers get Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach or not, the job of truly reorganizing the 49ers into a modern football operation is only half done. And if they dont get Harbaugh, all Jed did was move a few chairs around, hoping that feng shui would solve what years of baffled stumbling could not.

In other words, Jed wanted this to be about the coach all along, and all that general manager stuff was, well, just stuff.

Like we said, he wasted a good lie.

Lies are like money, you see. When you spend one, it better be for something valuable, and making people think you want to divorce yourself from the football side without actually doing so is a wasted lie. A good lie is feigning non-interest in Jim Harbaugh if he wants that news kept quiet. Thats a tactical lie with known benefits.

This was not. This was a smokescreen for Jed Yorks benefit, so he could look for a moment like someone who understood the magnitude of the problem while all the time deciding he was the solution to it.


Now hes stuck as the front man, which is where he said he didnt want to be, hoping that Jim Harbaugh will be the face of the franchise, the way he hoped Mike Singletary would be the face of the franchise and the way his father hoped Mike Nolan would be the face of the franchise.

Once again, saying one thing while meaning to do another. This may be what people come away with from this maneuvering -- he may get Jim Harbaugh, but he ends up looking more like Jerry Jones than Uncle Eddie. Which he wasnt really going for, as far as we know.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.