49ers

York's first call was to Uncle Eddie

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York's first call was to Uncle Eddie

The first call Jed York made upon departing Candlestick Park last Saturday in the wake of the 49ers' divisional playoff win over New Orleans?To his uncle and godfather Eddie DeBartolo."To see if he'd be the honorary captain," York, the 49ers President and CEO, said on a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon. "Without the hard work my uncle put in, the brand would not be what it is."
DeBartolo may have been shamed with his connection to gambling and corruption in Louisiana and forced to give up his ownership stake in the 49ers at the turn of the century, but those are not the memories coursing through the veins of the 49ers Faithful this week, as the team prepares to play host to the New York Giants Sunday in the NFC title game.No wonder the 30-year-old York, who was some 10 months old when The Catch went down and the dynasty was born, has been having so many flashbacks this week. York grew up in the 49ers dynasty of the 80's and was 13 when the 49ers won their fifth, and most recent Super Bowl, in 1995."I am a balding guy, though" he said with a laugh, "so it might make me look old."Driving around San Francisco, York has seen "people wearing Niners gear they busted out of their closet they haven't worn in 10 years."People are walking around in Frank Gore and Patrick Willis (jerseys) just as much as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig. It's pretty cool to see."A year ago, York was lambasted for predicting the 49ers would win the NFC West after starting the season 0-5. Now, he is one step away from the biggest sporting event in the country."Our internal expectations and external expectations are always different," he said. "We expect to compete for a Super Bowl every year. I realize this wasn't on everybody's radar screen."York was also asked about a variety of other topics on the callOn if the plan is still to be in a new stadium in Santa Clara in 2014: "I don't know if that's possible. I think 2015 is achievable."On the visiting fans who reported being harassed at the game last week: "That was a very small segment from Saints fans. And I apologize for any rudeness that might have happenedthat type of behavior is not tolerated." (York also said there would be more undercover police in the stadium this week.)On what appeals to him about coach Jim Harbaugh: "He's very enthusiastic but it's a very focused enthusiasm. You know what you're going to get with Jim and I just think it's very consistentJim has a great work ethic and a competitive spirit."On why Harbaugh connects with QB Alex Smith: "You need somebody that understands the most important position on the field."On when the players bought into Harbaugh: "The guys know when people are BS'ing them, because they see it all the time. They feel Jim's just-genuine spiritit's real and that means a lot to these guys." (York said Harbaugh and Kyle Williams were discussing in the lunch room today who they thought was the best baseball player of all time.)On Alex Smith's development: "I'm so happy for Alex. He's battled a lot in his career herequarterbacking in this league is so much aboutdeveloping a guy.your need to have somebody who can bring out those thingsit would have been easy (for Alex) to say, 'Let's find a different place.' He wanted to be here because he's a 49er."On Smith's future with the 49ers: "It's a two-way street and we'll get to that when the season's over. I'm very glad he is our quarterback. I hope he wants to stay here."On this year's team developing its own tradition: "It's not Joe Montana, it's not Steve Young, it's not Jerry Rice, and that's O.K.try to be something you're not, you most likely fail."

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

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49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

UPDATED: The 49ers announced Monday morning that Joe Staley has accepted a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. He will replace Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

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Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the all-star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced last month.

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

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Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

BOX SCORE

PHILADELPHIA -- Hey Philly, maybe it's time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.

That didn't happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4