Editor’s note: The 49ers Insider Podcast with special guest Carmen Policy is available here.
The Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are meeting in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year.
While that kind of two-team dominance has not occurred in a major American sporting league since the 1950s, there was something similar in the NFL in the 1990s.
The 49ers and Dallas Cowboys met in the NFC Championship games after the 1992, ’93 and ’94 seasons. The winner of those matchups produced the Super Bowl champion each season.
Former 49ers team president Carmen Policy joined the 49ers Insider Podcast and declared the Warriors are now the model by which all professional franchises should be judged.
"I think they’re the new gold standard in terms of organization, style of management, coaching, embracing the players as a family," Policy said.
Policy compared the 49ers’ 1994 signing of Deion Sanders after a second consecutive loss to the Cowboys in the playoffs to the Warriors’ addition of Kevin Durant. Sanders was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and the 49ers went on to capture the franchise's fifth Super Bowl.
“I’ve thought about it often,” Policy said. “And I commended the Warriors and gave them a standing ovation here in my home for doing what they did, with the proviso that Kevin Durant has to fit.
“I also commended that team, because no matter how good Kevin Durant’s intentions, he’s not going to fit if the other stars on the team don’t let him. These guys were part of the recruiting process. These guys were part of the welcoming committee. They were able to look him in the eye and deal with him and follow through on their commitments and say, in effect, ‘This is about the team. This is about the Warriors. This isn’t about Steph Curry. This isn’t about Draymond Green. This isn’t about Klay Thompson. This is about the Warriors winning a championship.’”
Policy, who founded Casa Piena winery in Napa Valley, no longer has any connection to the 49ers. But he said he fully endorses the hirings of coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. He sent text messages to Shanahan and Lynch to congratulate them shortly after they were hired.
“I think, for a change, there’s some optimism about what’s happening with the Niners structure, in terms of the front office,” Policy said. “Because even when they were winning with (Jim) Harbaugh, you knew there was no harmony in that front office and you knew there was going to be conflict. You sensed that, OK, here we are at the family reunion dinner and, all right, everybody came and everybody’s sitting down, but you’re just so nervous because at any minute, somebody’s going to say something and a food fight will start.
“Kyle Shanahan is totally committed to X’s and O’s and coaching the team and doesn’t want to be the visible and verbal face of the franchise. He wants to coach football. He wants to become a championship-caliber coach with a championship-caliber team. And then you have John Lynch, who is a hard-working guy, one of these people, ‘OK, give me a goal. Once I have the goal, I’ll figure out how to get around all the obstacles.’”