In the weeks, days and hours that led up to the 49ers going on the clock with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, everybody had an opinion.
The social media beast was lively, fierce and, at times, ugly.
Then, 49ers CEO Jed York stepped forward on draft day at 10:31 a.m. to set the stage for what would become a dose of much-needed levity.
York foreshadowed an active day on which he signaled his intention to “make new friends.”
What followed over the next seven-plus hours was York sending out a volley of tweets claiming he had no knowledge of the team’s decision.
Along the way, York took subtle and not-so subtle jabs at the various reports and speculation that had emerged in the past month.
“If you saw my deleted draft folder, then you’d see some really, really good tweets,” York said on 49ers Talk. York said there was no master plan -- other than to provide some entertainment and, perhaps, even add to the drama after the first two picks of the draft went as expected.
“It’s one of my favorite days of the year, and for any NFL fan, it’s a way for college football fans and NFL fans to come together,” York said. “I think that’s one of the things that makes the draft so special.
“I wanted to poke fun at social media a little bit. And I also knew the first two picks were relatively certain and there was a little bit of intrigue around us, and I wanted to be able to connect with the fans a little bit on that day.”
Many of his Twitter followers were in on the joke from the beginning. Some took his tweets seriously. Others were confused and wondered if it were unbecoming of a high-ranking team official to engage in such frivolity on a day that might shape the future of the organization -- for better or for worse.
“I do have a good friend who is a CFO at Twitter, Ned Segal,” York said, “And I keep lobbying, they need a sarcasm font. I think that would be very good. That would be very good for me.”
The one tweet that gained the most traction came at 2:32 p.m., when York -- not a runner -- said he might go for a jog. Then, he suggested the number of miles he might run: “1? 5? 10? 12? 16? or 1?”
The number of miles correlated to the jersey numbers of quarterbacks Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Mac Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. And the plot thickened.
In retrospect, another tweet gained some attention when York pointed out five hours before the selection of Lance that the 49ers currently do not have a director of public relations. Lance’s major at North Dakota State University was strategic communication.
York said he was not aware of Lance's major. He said his main goal was to give a shout-out to former 49ers PR director Bob Lange, now with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He also wanted to absolve everyone else in the department of any wrongdoing if he got too carried away with his tweets.
“If I go too far, don’t blame the PR department,” York said. “That was not a clue.”
York said he and his son took up golf during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the trade to No. 3 overall was made on March 26, the most frequent question he was asked was concerning which quarterback would be chosen.
York said he found humor in how many fans with whom he came in contact wanted him to lead general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan in a certain direction with the draft pick.
“And it was fun, knowing what I knew going into it, and knowing that there was definitely debate of who we should take and what we should do,” York said. “And it’s funny for me. There’s a lot of times in my career where it’s been, ‘Stay away, don’t do anything on football.’
“And around this, ‘You need to make sure that you tell Kyle to do this.’ It’s funny to me to see where fans land in this situation.”
Throughout draft day, York claimed to not know which quarterback the 49ers would choose.
In reality, Lynch and Shanahan informed him of their decision on Monday, three days before the draft.
York’s popularity in his role with the organization has waxed and waned through the years.
The jury was still out on how York would be received by 49ers fans when he tweeted -- remember, there’s no font for sarcasm -- of a power outage in the draft room that placed the 49ers’ ability to make the selection in doubt.
But, then, the drama was over.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the 49ers’ selection of Lance.
And York’s next post on social media was certain to be his most popular tweet of the day.