The mysterious departure of 49ers Scot McCloughan as the team’s general manager is yet another bizarre milestone for the freakiest franchise in the National Football League.
As many sports commentators have noted, it’s hard to predict which Bay Area team will win the race to the bottom of the NFL. Will it be ‘Weird Al’ Davis? Or will the ‘Yokel Yorks’ of Youngstown succeed in being crowned the biggest loser.
Bet all your money on the York family. They’re born losers. Al Davis is merely elderly and somewhat demented. At least Davis can overcome that.
Does the York family stewardship of the 49ers bare any resemblance to the plot of the movie Dumb and Dumber? You be the judge. The Internet Movie Database summarizes the movie as: “The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends.”
Take a quick look at the history of the John York and Jed York decision-making tree: The Yorks pushed out the great Bill Walsh, turned away Carmen Policy and a group of enthusiastic and knowledgeable former 49er players, rejected assistance from San Francisco insiders and businesspeople, and, recently have shown the door to the talented Andy Dolich and now have mysteriously given McCloughan the boot.
What did McCloughan do to get the roughly similar treatment the family gave coach Steve Mariucci?
Could McCloughan have accidently spent too much money on postage for personal use? Did he fail to note the mileage on his 49er issued Ford Fiesta? Over-order bottled water? Made a mistake on his reimbursables form?
Some news stories report his personal issue is the possibility of a divorce. Well, that must have sent the marriage-minded, pro-life Catholic York family over the edge. You can just hear the discussion at the dinner table: “We can’t have a divorced man running our football operations. Imagine the shame it would bring to team! What would the Pope say?”
So, in a style that 49er fans will never become accustomed to, the York family pulls an old recording of Elvis Costello’s ‘Mystery Dance’ and plays it for the press and public while they hide and tremble and try to figure out what to do and say.
Yahoo’s Mike Silver may have penned the best piece on the York family’s most recent debacle.
Silver writes that “not only is Jed York’s silence an insult to the people who follow the team, but it’s also an unduly harsh blow to McCloughan. There are all sorts of rumors swirling around about the potential source of the team’s displeasure, with AOL Fanhouse reporting that the Niners were cutting ties with McCloughan due to “personal reasons,” and ESPN characterizing the move as “an extended leave of absence.”
“If McCloughan has somehow embarrassed the organization or engaged in the type of personal conduct that would warrant his dismissal, the 49ers need to say so. Unless and until that happens, this will appear to the world as a ridiculous move made by a 28-year-old team president who, like his father, John, seems to believe he knows everything about everything.
As one former Niners staffer told Yahoo’s Silver Thursday, “The more Jed tries to act like his uncle (Eddie DeBartolo), the more he ends up looking like his father.”
All of these troubles come at a pivotal time for the team’s draft, but equally important, it comes when the Yorks are trying to woo Santa Clara voters into giving them a gift of $114 million in hard-earned tax dollars by voting for Measure J, their stadium measure.
Santa Clara voters are now getting a good look at Measure J (perhaps named ‘J” as in Jed?). The campaign has already begun telling voters that ‘J’ means jobs. But, as Santa Clarans are beginning to see, it really means “Let’s give Billionaire Boys Club Member Jed York $100 million of our money to spend on a stadium he could buy with his own family’s cash.”
Santa Clarans are also getting a firsthand look at how the York family operates and how it treats its staff and responds to public inquires. The question remains if the voters of Santa Clara will be fooled this June by the York family promises.