Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. will be recognized during a ceremony Saturday night in San Francisco for his contributions to HIS 49ers and the city itself. This event will be secluded and intimate to include a select few people who helped this man earn his legacy as the greatest owner in professional sports history.
There will be another ceremony Sunday however, an observance where the common man can exude a marvelous amount of gratitude to the man who helped deliver five Lombardi Championship trophies to the San Francisco bay area.
Because let’s be honest, Eddie (as he was has been so well known) has been the ultimate patriarch and leader of the 49er clan from the time he took ownership of this storied franchise. No matter what has happened over the years Mr. D. has been synonymous with the winning history the 49ers have enjoyed since winning their first Super Bowl in 1981.
I am honored that I and my little brother will be in attendance this weekend to assist the rest our 49er brethren in honoring such a great individual.
There is another man though… one who has taken it upon himself to instill a sense of the old“regime” into this team. His name is Jed York, the nephew of the aforementioned Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. He was named the President of the franchise last season and so far in his tenure he has not disappointed.
The latest example of this has to be the fact that he has reached out to the camp of Michael Crabtree, the holdout who was drafted 10th overall by his 49ers. Eddie was an extraordinary negotiator when it came to coaches and players not coming on board when he thought they should and by extraordinary I mean he told it like it was no matter the consequences. He did it with Bill Walsh, Ronnie Lott, and even Joe Montana and while he managed to ruffle quite a few feathers, he cared about his players and coaches.
Alright, so he failed somewhat in what many see as the downfall of this franchise… the riverboat gambling scheme in Louisiana that caused him to relinquish control of the team to his sister Denise DeBartolo York. No need to rehash these actions here as well all know the transgressions which took place.
The point now is to recognize the greatness of a man who brought this team to its current place in NFL history and the one who now seeks to return it to its once glorious status. Jed York has taken the proverbial mantle from his uncle, the one which his mother and father have been unable or unwilling to manage.
There is a sense of history with Jed York, one that dates back to his childhood days. He has a distinct love for this team, a team that has been in his family since was introduced into the world. He spent much time around his uncle as he was growing up and was submerged in the culture of this storied organization.
Going back to the Crabtree issue, York was on KNBR 680 with Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert where he made it known that a letter has been sent to the unsigned rookie and his agent, Eugene Parker inviting them to come out for a face to face meeting with the 49ers brass.
“We’ve extended an offer to his agent, Eugene Parker, and copied Michael, and we’ve said we’d love to have a face-to-face meeting with you guys,” York told hosts Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert. “And I think from my standpoint it’s getting to the point where we can’t worry about it – we’re playing regular-season games. It’s one thing to talk about it during the preseason. But during the regular season – you know, we went into Arizona we beat the defending NFC champions and Michael wasn’t there.
Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t want Michael as part of our team – absolutely not… We want the kid to be here. And I’d love to have a chance to sit down and talk with him and his agent face to face and hear … you know, it’s one thing to have an agent say, ‘This is what I want’ and ‘this is what he believes,’ but so that it doesn’t get personal and so there’s no miscommunication, I’d like to sit down with Michael and with (GM) Scot (McCloughan) and (negotiator) Paraag (Marathe) and Eugene”.
Kudos to Jed for this, he is showing beyond the shadow of a doubt that he has no problem taking the bull by the horns and while he obviously would like Crabtree to sign the contract the team has offered, he is not going to back down and offer more just to get him in the door. In fact reports have the opposite taking place with the latest news that the team has reduced its initial offer as a result of “Money Mike” missing the first regular season game.
Lost in all talk of DeBartolo being recognized this weekend is that there is a game to be played on Sunday. Back to back weeks of facing division opponents could be a great advantage for the 49ers as Seattle comes to town.
The Seahawks have a multitude of ways in which they can beat a team. With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and the newly acquired T.J. Houshmandzadah in the fold first year had coach Jim Mora Jr. has high hopes of knocking off the team with who he served as defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003. After the way his men dismantled a highly overmatched St. Louis Rams team last week up North, it’s a very real possibility.
Skeptics might say that while a 28-0 win over any team in the NFL is a quality one, it was still the lowly Rams. St. Louis had the 28th ranked defense in the league last season, 29th against the run. No wonder Seattle running back Julius Jones was able to peel off 117 yards on only 19 carries against them. The Rams pass defense isn’t much better and Hasselbeck did manage a good outing against them, going 25 of 36 for 276 yards passing with three touchdowns. However he did toss two interceptions in the game, something that could bode well for San Francisco.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the 49ers will win this game 24-17. I just don’t see Seattle’s offense being able to hang against Coach Singletary’s new “relentless” defense. The offense should come out with a much better game plan in week two then it showed in the desert against Arizona.
If this happens and the defense picks up where it left off there’s no reason why the Niners can’t be 2-0 come Monday morning.