Evidently Brent Musburger’s retirement caused the 49ers to get off the dime on their general manager hire and select former Stanford, Tampa Bay and Denver safety and now former Fox No. 2 analyst John Lynch.
And no, we didn’t skip over any steps. That’s the resume, kids. We’d throw in his front office or coaching experience as well, but he has none. He’s been a player and a broadcaster, and that’s it. Hell, except for the player part, Musburger’s seen more football than Lynch.
And while we’re at it, York jumped over Fox’s analyst hierarchy by not taking it’s No. 1 sidekick, Troy Aikman, instead, so even broadcasters think this is a breach of sanity. The only way he would have been further outside the norm is if he had hired Katie Nolan of Garbage Time, whose resume includes bartender, wit and on-air raconteur, though she might have gone to Jaguars camp one summer.
In short, York went so far out of the box that he didn’t even bother to send away for any boxes at all. Lynch and Kyle Shanahan with their zero games of experience in their present positions here to save the 49ers from their essential . . . uhh, is Yorkery a word?
This is the most bizarre example yet of York’s innate desire to break normal hiring protocols by finding people without typical experience patterns. He apparently distrusts traditional football trees, and likes planting his own untested shrubs instead. So, okay there.
There isn’t even any value in guessing how this will work because frankly, nobody has even the slightest idea. Not any York, not any Marathe, not any pundit, nobody. Not even Mike Shanahan, for whom Lynch once played. And if anyone says they do know, they are lying liars lying for the sake of lying.
What is interesting here, though, is the fact that York and Paraag Marathe thought that experience is so overrated that they decided to opt for none at all in their two most important football jobs. It’s not like they’re so thick in football education that they don’t need all the wisdom they can get in all the positions they have.
Maybe York and Marathe feel their ability to read men’s minds is unparalleled, and then that what they read is readily available to them. That takes a level of bravery that their resumes do not in any way support.
But they did it anyway, and in fairness they could be right where everyone else is wrong. Lynch and Shanahan could be the combination that solves all the evils of this dysfunk-chise. After all, Trent Baalke had only been a pro scout before he got hired, and Jim Harbaugh had only coached college football before he got hired – and that worked harmoniously for about six weeks or so.
So maybe Lynch and Shanahan are just agreeable conversationalists, able to find a comforting chemistry with York and Marathe that they value more than experience. And if that was the litmus test, then any success Lynch and Shanahan have will be very much against the run of logical play.
This, in short, is an amazing gamble that if it goes well is an act of stunning genius (or blind-dog-finds-Westminster Dog Show luck), and if it doesn’t pushes the 49ers another three years behind the relevance curve.
In other words, this is a what-the-hell tandem of hires that may not have any precedent in any sport, save perhaps for an expansion team. This is York the Gambler rearing his head again, the one who went for Chip Kelly after failing with the comforts of Tomsula, and the one who went for Harbaugh after the radical choice of Mike Singletary.
What is more, the 49ers haven’t hired a general manager with any prior NFL executive experience in 16 years, and only one (Bill Walsh) since John McVay retired in 1996. Evidently they don’t believe the job can’t be handled by whomever happens to be handy.
Well, okay then. If he’s right, he’s the smartest guy in football. If he isn’t, or if he is insufficiently patient, then the odd plane over his stadium will become an entire air force, and the Kelly and Tomsula eras will be known as “The Golden Years.”
And people will ask themselves for decades to come why he didn’t see the wisdom in Aikman. Or for that matter, Musburger.