Down six and with millions watching, the young quarterback floated a pass towards the corner of the end zone as the clock ticked down the final seconds of the 2014 NFC Championship Game.
A tip. Then, heartbreak. But hope.
Hope because the team had been here before just twelve months ago and would likely be there again soon. Hope because of the faint memories of past glory. And hope because of a quarterback in the midst of a career breakout, a ferociously stout defense with pro-bowlers at every turn, a coach bringing success unseen since the legends of the nineties, and perhaps most importantly, an owner whose love of the team was overshadowed only by their excellence on the field.
But now that hope is gone. The curtain has been pulled back. The owner of the once-great San Francisco 49ers has been revealed to be nothing but a dim-witted, egotistical and criminally spoiled little brat clinging to the coattails of his parents while buffoonishly bumbling every personnel decision and dragging the prize of the Bay Area to the bleak and frigid depths of mediocrity.
Less than a year after the crushing NFC Championship loss, a “disappointing” season — one that saw the 49ers sitting at 7-5 going into a Thanksgiving rematch against the Seattle Seahawks, the team that had tipped that fateful pass — was epitomized by a 19 to 3 primetime blowout.
After the game, Jed York tweeted, “Thank you 49ers faithful for coming out strong tonight. This performance wasn’t acceptable. I apologize for that.”
Behind closed doors, turmoil brewed and the dumpster fire began. By the end of the season, the 49ers were 8-8 and watching the playoffs from home. Nearly the entire staff was fired, including the coach that had led the team to two consecutive championship games.
York seemingly wanted to surround himself with groveling yes-men, a childish move that led to the greatest coach the team had seen in twenty years fleeing to the college level, and all the suitable alternates turning down what should have been the most appealing job in the NFL.
Instead, York promoted from within. A defensive line coach was promoted to the head of the staff. A quarterback coach who had never seen a QB make the pro-bowl became the offensive coordinator. A tight-end coach who couldn’t hold a job with the Cleveland Browns took over the defense. And a radio host from North Carolina was deemed suitable to cultivate the inexperienced Colin Kaepernick at the head of the offense — clearly not the recipe for success.
Lambasted by pundits and fans alike, York responded with a statement that should have been the final nail in his coffin. At a press conference to discuss the coaching staff overhaul, he said, “Whenever we don’t deliver [Super Bowl banners], I hope that you will hold me directly responsible and accountable for it.”
Well Jed, the 49ers are 2-5, last place in their division, the laughingstock of the league and coming off another Thursday night blowout at the hands of the Seahawks, one in which they had more punts than first downs.
You have ruined Colin Kaepernick, who is a shell of his former self and the subject of constant controversy in the locker room.
Fans are booing your team off the field, and doing everything they can to sell their season tickets.
Your handpicked selection to lead the team seems to spend more time aimlessly wandering the sideline mouth agape and with a look of stunned befuddlement than he does leading the team to victory.
And you are nowhere to be seen.
Where are the apologetic tweets now? Where is your promised accountability?
Jed York is the worst owner in all of sports. He has selfishly ruined one of the most beloved franchises in the league. 49er fans pride themselves on being faithful, but Jed York does not deserve our faith. He does not deserve our respect. And he certainly does not deserve our money.
Tom Curran-Levett is a senior political science major and the editor of the Opinion Section.