49ers, York are about to get the answer they don’t want


49ers, York are about to get the answer they don’t want

The San Francisco 49ers are getting a massive amount of stick for their fan questionnaire in which they asked the seemingly ridiculous question, “How important is winning to your stadium experience?”

As in, “Do you need to ask this at all?”

But it speaks to the state of the business (as opposed to the franchise) that someone thought it needed to be asked. And that someone was probably Jed York.

Remember that Levi’s Stadium is his baby, the object by which he measures his value in the marketplace. Everything about the stadium shrieks his belief that the stadium is a standalone triumph, a multi-event mecca that is its own attraction.

Thus, for him, the question is his way of trying to quantify his core belief -- that the stadium is its own attraction.

Except that (a) he asked 49er fans, whose interest is the football produce rather than the commodious restrooms or luxurious suites. Except that (b) he asked at this fresh nadir in club history, when they have won seven of their last 39 games. Except that (c) most people view the stadium as the place where his football team plays, and he will always be regarded as a football owner, not a venue operator.

That’s why the question seems ridiculous. It’s that York doesn’t really want to be thought of as the football owner because his experience has been fairly unhappy. When the team was good, he was warring with the head coach, to the point where he chose not winning over daily migraines as his preferred option. When the team was bad, people rented planes to slag him.

As a football operator, he isn’t having fun. At all.

So he has the question asked, “Do you love the thing I actually did so much that you’ll ignore the thing that makes me susceptible to fan abuse and migraines?”

He will find that he is about to get the answer he doesn’t want -- that football fans want quality football, first and foremost. And he shouldn’t expect any different. His customer base sat through Candlestick Park for 40-plus years, for God’s sake. They voted with their feet and lungs as well as their wallets, and they’re voting now.

But the 49ers asked the question anyway, because they were hoping for a different answer. What they have gotten is laughter. What they’re going to get is a rebuke from the customers, and a renewed understanding that the future of the empire lies with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan more than with Coldplay tours.

Then again, maybe they get a lot of responses from fans saying, “No, I actually prefer the losing.” In which case this is the best questionnaire ever, and the 49ers are meeting their customers’ needs far more brilliantly than we imagined.

George Kittle's fantasy numbers could take a hit if 49ers' offense reaches desired balance

George Kittle's fantasy numbers could take a hit if 49ers' offense reaches desired balance

CINCINNATI – Fantasy football owners who invested a high draft pick in 49ers tight end George Kittle might not be thrilled with Kyle Shanahan’s vision for the season.

Of course, Kittle is still the central focus of the 49ers’ passing game, and he did have two touchdown receptions from Jimmy Garoppolo called back due to penalties in the season-opening win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But Shanahan hopes less Kittle translates into more balance around him for the 49ers’ offense.

“I think he will get a little more (attention) this year, but he dealt with that last year and he can still make a lot of plays when people do that,” Shanahan said of Kittle on “49ers Game Plan,” which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (TV, Ch. 3).

Shanahan said he hopes Kittle benefits from the players around him, such as Garoppolo, the offensive line, the other tight ends, the wide receivers and the running backs. The 49ers also activated running back Jeff Wilson from the practice squad on Saturday.

“The better we can balance our offense out, his stats might not be as good, but it will make his job a lot easier,” Shanahan said.

Kittle set the all-time, single-season record for NFL tight ends last season with 1,377 yards on 88 receptions.

He caught eight passes in the 49ers’ season-opening win over the Buccaneers, but he was held to just 54 yards – after his TD catches of 8 and 22 yards were wiped out due to penalties.

[RELATED: 49ers Mailbag -- What is expected from Jason Verrett in return to field?]

The 49ers are looking for production from the wide receivers, especially Dante Pettis, who is expected to see increased playing time on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rookie Deebo Samuel and Marquise Goodwin started and played the vast majority of the action in Week 1.

Garoppolo was up and down in his first start after missing the final 13 games of last season with a knee injury. In Week 1, Garoppolo completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 166 yards with one touchdown and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch in Week 2: Nothing changes with Matt Breida as lead back]

“When you win, that’s a little easier to deal with because you can go hard on yourself on Monday in watching the film, hard on yourself on Tuesday and then you try to work through it throughout the week,” Shanahan said.

“You try to put him in those same positions, the ones he just missed, and he’s had a good week of practice. I know that he’s happy starting 1-0, and hopefully he and everyone around him, including myself, will be a little bit better tomorrow, and hopefully we can be 2-0 because of it.”

49ers-Bengals odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

49ers-Bengals odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

Week 1 came and went faster than the timeframe of Antonio Brown's latest helmet deal being taken away. 

The 49ers kicked off the season with a 31-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. San Francisco spent this week sticking to their Community Tuesday's in Youngstown, Ohio and moving on from linebacker Kwon Alexander's hit on Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston. 

The NFL didn't forget, however, and fined Alexander $28,075. This was after he received a 15-yard penalty and an ejection from the game. 

But Week 2 brings a new matchup: The Cincinnati Bengals. And according to SportsLine, the Bengals are slightly favored.

[RELATED: York optimistic about improvements he sees in Youngstown]


Caesars: CIN -2 (-110)
Consensus: CIN -1 (-106)
Westgate: CIN -1 (-110)
Wynn: CIN -2 (-110)

Here's how writers around the country see the 49ers-Bengals matchup shaking out:

Nick Wagoner, ESPN: 49ers 27, Bengals 23

Ben Baby, ESPN: 49ers 24, Bengals 17

Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com: 49ers 24, Bengals 23

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Bengals 24, 49ers 20

Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Bengals 23, 49ers 20

Vincent Frank, Forbes: 49ers 30, Bengals 17

Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati Enquirer: Bengals 24, 49ers 17