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Thursday, February 13, 2003

Niner Noodling

Jordon Cooper was looking for my reaction to the 49ers selection of Dennis Erickson as the new head coach, but found nothing. Sorry, Jordon, I’m at least a day behind on everything right now. But, for what it’s worth, here it is.

I agree with Jordon’s observation that this was probably not a good choice. The local press and a poll of the fans also show agreement. But who knows? Maybe Erickson’s a winner.

Unfortunately. The problem with the Niners is not coach selection. Ever since Eddie DeBartolo was forced to give up the team, the front office management has floundered.

The new owner, Eddie D’s brother-in-law, Dr. John York, is a meddlesome no-nothing. The President, Terry Donahue, shows no imagination or organizational ability—a far cry from the former President—Carmen Policy, now with Cleveland and bringing that fledgling organization around nicely.The legendary Bill Walsh remains as a consultant, but his status and influence remain murky and ill-defined, making things more difficult and confusing for any coach.

My sons, who grew up in the 49er glory years of 1981-98 and were totally spoiled by it, cover their ears and hurl epithets at me when I say this, but I do honestly believe that this once proud organization is in decline, and will only get worse. It doesn’t matter whether Erickson is a good choice or a bad one.

Great coaches in dysfunctional organizations can’t do very much. The most vivid example of this is Mike Holmgren at Seattle. So, Jordon--to sum up my reaction to the Erickson hiring---Ho Hum.


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