Nostalgic Sports News with a Twist
Jimmy Garoppolo meet Jim Tomsula
I’ve been waiting for the best time to post this column, aware that it will not resonate with many Around the Block readers*. But with the 49er’s playing in their first “Big Game” since Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, this might be the time.
*For those non-resonating readers, try to get to the postscript at end of this story. In fact go there right now if an article about the Niners is not to your liking. Go there because in the postscript, I not only tie all the 49er loose ends together, I offer hope and solace to fans of beleaguered teams (almost) everywhere.
For “Niner Faithful” Super Bowl LIV will be a stunning event. Since that last Super Bowl the team has been, in a word, dreadful. And the fact that they no longer play in San Francisco but in Santa Clara, has simply added to the despair. Their record since 2015 has been: 5-11; 2-14; 6-10; 4-12.
But in the 2019 season, the San Francisco 49er’s record was 13-3, and they’re in the Super Bowl. Now all eyes are on the #1 Bay Area heart throb, matinee idol quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the newest savior of the recently moribund San Francisco NFL franchise (actually, the moribund Santa Clara NFL franchise — there, I said it). Garoppolo is known throughout the Bay Area as “Jimmy G.”
But before there was a “Jimmy G,” there was a “Jimmy T,” Jim Tomsula. Jimmy T was the one season coach of the 49ers in 2015, one of the most painful years in the team’s storied history.
So, in honor of their appearance in Super Bowl LIV, to remember how bad it was, and to celebrate how good it could be, I bring back an Around the Block from that 2015 NFL season.
49ers Win Final Game!!!!
Fire coach anyway
In a completely unanticipated outcome, the San Francisco Forty-Niners won the last game of their 2015 season. But in an excruciating development, the game went into overtime, extending the season by over 11 minutes (11:33) and left the 17 (Former) Niner Faithful remaining in Levi’s Stadium at the end, not quite ecstatic.
Summing up the (Former) Faithful sentiment, Fresno native and 49er season ticket holder since 1948, Kevin Katchaturian, said, “First we had to sit and watch for almost a full overtime quarter. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Niners won, moving them down two places in the upcoming college draft, and almost guaranteeing that they won’t be able to draft Jared Goff.” Goff, the Cal quarterback who recently declared for the draft, is the most sought after collegiate quarterback in this year’s draft.
San Francisco coach, Jim Tomsula, whose status with the team going forward has been the source of endless speculation, was asked about his job security about an hour after the ignominious win. Tomsula said he had yet to speak with ownership about his status “and wouldn’t expect to until the season is over,” apparently not aware that the season was actually over.
In a not surprising move less than an hour later, 49er management announced in a press release that Jim Tomsula “has been relieved of his head coaching duties.”
Neither owner Jed York nor general manager Trent Baalke appeared in person to fire Tomsula, keeping their promise never to appear in person when there is the hint of bad news. In fact, the last time either York or Baalke actually appeared in person was 12 months ago when they announced Tomsula’s hiring, apparently not realizing at the time that that was not just bad news, it was the worst news possible.
In a press conference on Monday in which York explained the firing of Tomulsa, York said, “Jimmy T. has been a valuable member of the 49ers’ organization for the last nine years and the entire organization is proud and grateful to have worked so closely alongside Jimmy T.”
York went to talk about himself for 27 minutes before turning it over to the media for questions by asking, “Well enough about me, what do you think of me?”
When asked by one reporter whether he, York, feels confident in his ability to hire another head coach after the Jimmy T. debacle, York said that he was confident because he had learned so much about winning from his grandfather, his uncle and his mother. In his answer, York neglected to mention his father and co-owner, Dr. John York, otherwise known as Johnny Y., leading some members of the media to speculate whether Johnny Y. was relieved of his duties with the 49ers along with Jimmy T.
Just after the press conference ended, former 49er coach (and current University of Michigan cult hero) Jim Harbaugh, who was relieved of his responsibilities after last season to make way for Jimmy T. tweeted, “Do not be deceived. You will reap what you sow.” It is not known what Harbaugh’s tweet meant or whether it was a direct slap at York, Tomsula and the 49er organization, but it is known that Harbaugh has been holding a grudge all year because York, despite all Harbaugh’s success with the team, never called him “Jimmy H.”
GM Trent Baalke was fired a year later; Jed York hired John Lynch (GM) and Kyle Shanahan (Head Coach), backed away from day-to-day management and, three years later, the 49ers are in the Super Bowl.
Jared Goff was drafted by the arch-rival Los Angeles Rams started off his career terribly, turned things around for a while, but is regressing, as one writer following the Rams wrote this year, “The Los Angeles Rams won’t be playing in the playoffs, and a big reason is the play of quarterback Jared Goff.
Jimmy T, wherever you are, please know, your last overtime win in 2015 is the reason the Niners didn’t draft Goff. The Niner Faithful (Former, no more) thank you and most importantly, Jimmy G thanks you.
And sports fans everywhere, if you’ve gotten this far in the story, I’ll leave you with this final thought: Look at the 49ers rise from the ashes to NFL prominence as a signal; a signal that no matter how bleak things look for your home team, miracle turn-arounds do happen. Look at this year’s Miami Heat as one, local, South Florida example. So have hope you NY Giants, Jets and Knicks fans…it can happen to you!
Who am I kidding? Giants, Jets and Knicks? Fuggedaboutit!