Big O Tires

Lengthy coaching search increases chances of failure for 49ers

Lengthy coaching search increases chances of failure for 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are on the verge of having the least interesting (or appealing) job search in recent NFL history. In fact, they may have already achieved that honor.

While the other 31 teams were either already set and found their guy (or guys) in a fairly timely fashion, Jed York and Paraag Marathe are still interviewing candidates, and if reports are to be believed that their top coaching choice, Josh McDaniels, has decided to pass in hopes of finding a better gig in the next job vacancy cycle, they are now considered within football as they are outside it.

An ongoing disaster.

Since the end of the season, the 49ers have been without a head coach for 15 days, and a general manager for 17. York and Marathe have shown no particular urgency in filling either job, presumably on the theory that they can wait until February 6, the day after the Super Bowl, if need be.

The problem with that plan, of course, is that for 37 days (or 39) it’s rabbit season/duck season/rabbit season/duck season/York season, and when it’s York season, it’s also brand season.

In other words, the 49ers are currently further from New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Atlanta than any other team, and while nothing really matters in mid-January for 28 of the 32 teams, the notion that a potential head coach would be willing to wait out the current cycle in hopes of doing better next time should be sufficiently galling to a fan base already revolted by its team.

This would all be different if there was a reason to be encouraged by York’s hiring history. Even the one he got right (He Whose Name Must Never Be Spoken, Michigan Division) he got wrong because he hired someone he thought he could tame and failed miserably – a clear vetting problem that lays squarely at the feet of the employer.

So no, York has shown no facility for coaching personnel judgment, and since owners hire coaches (and can’t be dismissed, as a great man once said) this delay does not represent wisdom but an increasing chance of failure.

Which brings us to Kyle Shanahan or Tom Cable, two guys who probably can’t be as picky as McDaniels.

Shanahan, the Atlanta offensive coordinator, has helped the Falcons create the most dynamic offense of the decade, but would be coming to a place where he has zero dynamic players, and therefore would be savaged almost immediately for not “coaching ‘em up,” as Chip Kelly was halfway through his first season, and Jim Tomsula was on the day of his first press conference.

Cable, the Seattle assistant head coach and offensive line coach, comes pre-condemned for coaching the Oakland Raiders in the aftermath of the Al Davis-Lane Kiffin tire fire, as well for as clocking assistant coach Randy Hanson (a lawsuit was settled in arbitration) and for allegations of domestic violence that Davis cited when he fired him after 44 games. He would not be given much benefit of the doubt because his history does not comfort, and because these are angry times in 49er World anyway.

So the speculation drags on, mostly on a low simmer, and it only makes York and Marathe look like the masters of a sinking ship. That isn’t a truly fair characterization, since by rule they have to wait on Shanahan, but when it comes to a 2-14 team (which has won one less game in the last two years in the last year of the discredited-in-house coach with no name) run by the son of a man who had his own organizational issues with the very same franchise, fair has nothing to do with it.

But look at the bright side. This could last another three weeks. At least they’ll know they didn’t get their first choice.

Only factor forcing Mark Davis out of Oakland is his own desires

Only factor forcing Mark Davis out of Oakland is his own desires

So now that Mark Davis will formally apply to move the Raiders twice in two years, the second time with the news coming this morning under cover of hangover, maybe this was to convince the last few stragglers that Davis really wants to keep the team in Oakland.
 
This is not to say that if he actually gets approval to move his team to Las Vegas that he’s the only one you may be want to be angry at. Hell, be angry at whomever you want. We are an angry country right now, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get your piece of the bilious action.
 
But do not be fooled into thinking that Davis is being forced to leave by mean old Libby Schaaf and the Oakland political structure, or action malaprop Roger Goodell, who is already being blamed enough by his employers for turning Southern California into a hot mess with a side of tubercular phlegm, or Jed York, who benefits from the Raiders’ departure but otherwise is up to eyelids in his own problems, or that amorphous blob of media whose typing and speaking is singlehandedly responsible for all evil in the world, including this.
 
Mark Davis has craved escape from Oakland for years – some people within the NFL diaspora even suspect that he has wanted to go back to Los Angeles since the team left Los Angeles to go back to Oakland. The stadium debate, the lack of fear among the political class when confronted by moving threats, the lack of glamor, the absence of celebrities among which to frolic . . . it all allegedly added up to dissatisfaction

That has led not just to his totally expected filing but his eagerness to join Dean Spanos in the ill-fated Carson venture that ended a year ago but had already been more than a year in the forging.
 
The only real difference this time is that he has what most people think is an excellent chance to pull it off – as opposed to last time, when he was regarded as a hopeless and helpless tool of forces beyond his control.
 
The nettlesome piece of Sands Casino owner/stadium investor/putative-partner-bait Sheldon Adelson has not yet been solved, but Davis’ minions claim he can do the Vegas stadium deal (listed at $1.9 billion, though many people think it is considerably less) with or without Adelson. It is not yet clear what Adelson could do if he is cut out of the deal, since he has unimaginable throw-weight in town, but for the moment he is not a declared obstacle.
 
The next matter, the local political structure’s steadfast refusal to knuckle under to the NFL’s standard extortions, is a huge prod for his departure. The city didn’t really bother to do anything as regards the Coliseum, and when it belatedly and quarter-heartedly offered the Fortress Group as its agent for stadium construction, the league dismissed it out of hand because – well, because it wasn’t theirs, either by deed or by wink-and-nod.
 
This tends to fly in the face of the last-ditch Oakland-only supporters theory that Davis’ fellow owners are just setting him up for another massive humiliation. That possibility cannot yet be ascertained, and nobody has even lost money wagering on the NFL owners’ collective mendacity, but there is a sense among NFL observers (who in fairness also thought the Carson deal would happen) that Davis was told to cut his own deal, has cut his own deal, and should not now be punished for having done so.
 
But that’s still for the owners meetings March 26-29 in Phoenix. What we know is simply that Mark Davis has wanted to leave Oakland for at least two years and quite likely more, and he will now make it official a second time.
 
So if he ever dares to say he wanted to keep the team in Oakland but just couldn’t, you may rest assured that if he ever felt that way, it is now ancient history.

Making the case for every NFL team to move to Los Angeles

Making the case for every NFL team to move to Los Angeles

While this may be a bit too soon for San Diego football fans, and about to be the same for Oakland football fans, it is not too soon for the rest of the country to finally take a rooting interest in the one thing that can sate the National Football League’s owners and their real estate-uber-alles addiction.
 
Thirty-two forced relocations. To Los Angeles. Make the fellas and gals choke on the thing they clearly care about most – stadium construction – to the point that just seeing someone in a hard hat makes them break out in blood-filled blisters.
 
And put them all in the one place that has been powered for decades by the belongings of other fans and now pretends to be horrified by having another team forced upon it.
 
It doesn’t matter if the teams draw well in the cities in which they currently do business, or even if they desperately want to stay were they are. It’s time for sacrifices for the greater good – in this case, the mandatory cramming of every NFL franchise into Los Angeles.
 
Even if it means 30 more columns like the one Bill Plaschke wrote for the Los Angeles Times, essentially telling the Chargers they are not wanted, this must happen. Besides, screw what Los Angeles does or doesn’t want, Chuckles. This is evolution-turned-revolution, and you and your neighbors will accept football teams delivered at high velocity and with great forward momentum until your collective gag reflex collapses under the weight.
 
It’s the price we all are willing to have you pay for taking the Rams and Chargers (in lieu of the Raiders) inside a calendar year – two teams YOU ALREADY COVETED BRAZENLY BEFORE YOU STARTED GETTING SNOOTY ABOUT WHO YOU WOULD ACCEPT AND REJECT.
 
Toward that end, the NFL has lots more inventory, and some teams rank higher than others in portability.
 
Like JACKSONVILLE. Most people agree that Jacksonville wasn’t the ideal choice for an expansion site, but Wayne Weaver had friends in high places, and even though he no longer owns the team (Shahid Khan does), the Jags have always been on the relocation short list to the point of becoming London’s de facto team. They go first, to Riverside, to keep that semi-distant feel.
 
Or WASHINGTON. Danny Snyder demands a new stadium all the time whether he needs one or not – indeed, mostly though he doesn’t need one. So indulge him with Carson, the city that was scorned once before and is still hot for a team or teams of their own. In fact, maybe make him cohabit with BALTIMORE, just to be vindictive.
 
Or OAKLAND. They went to L.A. once, they wanted to go again, and now they’re all dressed up to leave Oakland to Las Vegas. Well, nuts to Vegas. There are bigger trout to flambee here, which is righting a decades-old wrong. Irwindale, your long-deferred dreams are about to come true.
 
Or SAN FRANCISCO. Their current three-year-old stadium is a decaying and underused mess, in keeping with the team it houses. Jed York needs a new place to reinvent himself, and a quiet place to do that is right over the horizon. The San Francisco 49ers went into Santa Clara without a name change, and they can damned well do the same thing in Temecula.
 
Or CLEVELAND. Are the good people of this town with its Cavs and Indians and Ohio States really having fun with the pro football team it has? Of course they’re not. Plus, their grandparents already lost a football team to Los Angeles, and they lost one more recently to Baltimore. Face it, they’re used to it, and in honor of their Rust Belt roots, The City Of Industry is the only place to go.
 
Or THE NEW YORK JETS. Joe Namath is 73. Get over yourselves. And face it, their greatest days were in Long Island anyway, and they left there long ago. So, Long Beach it is.
 
Or BUFFALO. It’s cold in Buffalo nearly all the time. It’s warm in Bakersfield even more often, and only slightly more remote. Done.
 
Or GREEN BAY. If the city cared about the Packers as much as they say they do, it would let them seek their own destiny. Besides, the frozen tundra of Cal State Fullerton has a ring to it.
 
Or ARIZONA. The Cardinals last moved almost 30 years ago after stops in Chicago, Pittsburgh (look it up) and St. Louis. It’s past time, and Pasadena doth protest too much about traffic disruptions. We all must make sacrifices.
 
Or NEW ENGLAND. The sport’s most successful franchise over the last 15 years also has the most rabid fan base, as much a part of the New England experience as Faneuil Hall. This cries out for Anaheim, the home planet of the Disney Universe.
 
Or OAKLAND AGAIN. Irwindale’s had its time, and Ice Cube must not be foiled again. Compton. Simply Compton.
 
MIAMI to Huntington Beach. DETROIT to Santa Monica. PHILADELPHIA to L.A. Live. PITTSBURGH across the street from L.A. Live. MINNESOTA, with a stadium less than a year old and already having stuff fall off it, we might add) three blocks up on Sepulveda. This must happen. It must all happen.
 
Come on America! To paraphrase former NFL commissioner Mao Zedong, “Let a thousand flowers die!”
 
True, this means the end of one of sports’ most hallowed tradition – the nonsensical bellowing of love toward a local fan base. “YOU ARE THE GREATEST FANS IN THE WORLD!” must now be replaced by ‘YOU ARE THE GREATEST FANS IN THE WORLD EXCEPT FOR LOS ANGELES!” or “YOU ARE THE SECOND-GREATEST FANS IN THE WORLD!” to “YOU HAVE WON THE SILVER MEDAL IN THE GREATEST FANS IN THE WORLD COMPETITION!”
 
But this is how it must be. The NFL wants this, and everyone tells us how powerful the NFL is, so the NFL must get what it wants. Only with this scheme, the NFL gets what it wants force fed to it, with steamshovels rather than trowels. Let it eat L.A. until it explodes, and rains itself over the entire basin in a shower of avarice-fueled viscera.
 
Because in this video-driven world, that would get the best ratings of all, and you can’t tell me that doesn’t make the league’s collective ears perk up in that one last reflexive cash grab. They could air it on the one network best named for this sort of thing.
 
Vice.