By this time next week, the pads will be on and the 2017 NFL season will be officially grunting with activity.
When Jed York hired John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, he mentioned the word “culture” about a thousand times. Restoring a winning culture.
That was hilarious, in a dark and twisted way. Because it was York himself who trashed the winning culture established by Jim Harbaugh in favor of a losing culture that was more comfortable for York’s delicate ego.
That winning culture was established six years ago, when Harbaugh came in and ended the Niners string of eight straight losing seasons by taking the team to three straight NFC Title games, and one Super Bowl appearance (that would have been two if not for a Kyle Williams late game melt down). Then York stepped in, undermined the 2014 team, lied to the fans, and handed us one year of Jim Tomsula and one year of Chip Kelly (5-11 and 2-14).
During York’s three year reign of error, attendance at games swirled down the toilet and apathy settled over the franchise. The 49ers went from a respected entity to a laughingstock.
Now, Shanahan faces the same task as Harbaugh did six years ago. Save the Yorks from themselves!
The only way he can do a better job than Harbaugh is to win a Super Bowl. At first, though, his job is going to be much tougher. The 2011 team had continuity. They were a championship caliber team in search of good coaching.
Unfortunately, the team Shanahan inherits is closer in talent to the 2005 team. A few good players and a whole lot of average joes. His first challenge is not measuring up to Harbaugh. It’s exceeding the accomplishments of Mike Nolan.