As the SF 49ers play their last regular season game/first pre-post-season game, are they back too?
Around the Block has been pretty quiet the last few weeks. Perhaps it’s because of the holidays. More likely it’s due to self-inflicted trauma after realizing, and writing about the fact “we’re not in danger of losing our democracy, we already have!” in the last column. (https://around-the-block.com/2021/12/18/we-are-closer-to-civil-than-any-of-us-would-like-to-believe/). One reader even suggested that I seemed to be in a “dark place.” Dark or not, and despite two or three forthcoming ideas for future columns, I have been quiet. So how to begin again?
Why not football? And more specifically San Francisco 49ers football.
Talk about dark!
The Niners have put the “Faithful” through hell once again this season. A pre-season pick to go to the Super Bowl again and a team who drafted a new-age quarterback, Trey Lance, as the third overall pick in the Draft, is once again mired in controversy. And this one is not just the run-of-the-mill quarterback controversy, this is a full-blown “Jimmy” controversy…this year’s Jimmy being “Jimmy G.” aka incumbent QB (and, perhaps, future movie star), Jimmy Garoppolo.
Now, I’m not going to get into all the ins and outs of the Niners’ current “Jimmy” drama, you can go to the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Sporting Green” for that. (Yes, the sports pages of the Chronicle are really GREEN. Go figure.)
But, for the few readers who care enough about this football team and have actually gotten this far, I thought I’d go back exactly six years ago to the January 4, 2016 edition of Around the Block to remind you of the last time the 49ers had a full-fledged “Jimmy” controversy.
Around the Block
January 4, 2016
49ers Win Final Game!!!!
Fire coach anyway
In a completely unanticipated outcome, the San Francisco Forty-Niners won the last game of their 2015/2016 season. But in an excruciating development, the game went into overtime, extending the season by over 11 minutes (11:33) leaving the 17 (Former) Niners Faithful remaining in Levi’s Stadium at the end, not quite ecstatic.
Summing up the (Former) Faithful sentiment, A.C. Agajanian, a 49er season ticket holder since 1948 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, 49ers management announced in a press release that Jim Tomsula “has been relieved of his head coaching duties.” Neither owner Jed York or 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.”
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, 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 49ers 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 if Harbaugh’s tweet 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.