That's what the San Francisco 49ers are selling to its fans as the man to add Lombardi
Trophies to their display inside the offices at Levi Stadium? I'm sure he's a nice guy and
according to players on the team, a real popular one. But the man has no significant head
coaching experience. None.
So, Ned York and general manager Trent Baalke thinks he's an upgrade from Jim Harbaugh?
It's funny how things work not just in the NFL but all businesses, for that matter.
Four years ago, the 49ers brought Jim Harbaugh into a franchise that was an utter
mess. They told him to win and win often because after all, the NFL is a 'bottom line'
business or at least that's what ownership tries to jam down the throats of its fan
base and the media.
The bottom line for the 49ers with Harbaugh looked pretty darn good.
Year 1: NFC Championship appearance.
Year 2: Super Bowl appearance.
Year 3: NFC Championship appearance.
In the first three years with Harbaugh, San Francisco compiled a record of 36-11-1, while
the previous three years without him, the 49ers were a woeful 21-27
Then, in the midst of Harbaugh's tremendous run, word comes last spring that ownership
was trying to trade their hot young coach to the Cleveland Browns for a first-round draft pick.
That's the point where anyone with an ounce of football smarts says, "You're kidding me, right?"
Who would do that? What's the logic behind dumping a coach who made the franchise
relevant again and most likely increased the value of it by at least 20 percent? Oh, that's
right, Jim Harbaugh must have been 'tough to work with.'
What else could it be? Sure, Harbaugh turned out to be a handful, but so what? The 49ers
watched him coach in their backyard at Stanford and they didn't hear or see that? Perhaps,
like all great coaches, Harbaugh was driven to win, cared about it deeply and passionately,
and wanted things done his way. That's really not much different than how Bill Parcells,
Bill Belichick, Mike Ditka, Vince Lombardi, and other brilliant, but demanding coaches
It's not a country club.
Perhaps, Harbaugh overshot the boundaries and stepped on the toes of his general manager
who had ownerships ear. It's happened before and it will happen many times again. There
are power plays and political maneuvering in all walks of life. The soap opera in San
Francisco apparently was no different and it became too much to deal with, so Harbaugh,
the high-strung, but highly successful coach wherever he's been, had to go.
It was all personal. All of it.
Ned York try to tell the fans that he expected more than NFC Championships, but to
present Tomsula as the man to do it is absolutely ludicrous and a slap in the face.
I'm sure York and the GM Baalke felt 'comfortable' around Tomsula because he's not
threatening and won't be the mega-star coach that Harbaugh was with the 49ers and
most certainly will be with Michigan.
Harbaugh has the 'it' that all great coaches possess. He's proven that again and again.
Tamasula has proven nothing other than he's a nice and popular guy in the locker room.
Haven't we seen this so many times before where a coach with a 'nice' personality
and is easy to work with follows a hard-driving one and the result is the same: players
run over the coach, don't fear or respect him. It happened in New England when Pete
Carroll replaced Bill Parcells and how'd that turn out?
I'm glad the 49ers leadership group got their man in Jim Tomsula. I'm sure he'll be a
much easier guy to work with but it's almost certain that he won't be anywhere near
successful as Harbaugh was.
All he did was win. He managed to go 8-8 in a year of turmoil where management
clearly didn't want him to succeed. It's just too bad in a 'bottom-line' business, that
wasn't enough because they expect you to win and be nice doing it.
It's too bad that rarely happens in the NFL.