Jed York felt 49ers could reach Super Bowl when they drafted Nick Bosa


Jed York felt 49ers could reach Super Bowl when they drafted Nick Bosa

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers were 4-12 last season, so expecting to play in Super Bowl LIV was unrealistic even if the team believed it was better than its record suggests.

Team president and CEO Jed York understood that well. He hired head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to revamp the roster and slowly build the franchise back into a period of sustained success. York gave them six-year contracts back in 2017, a sign he knew this process wouldn’t happen overnight.

He weathered 6-10 in 2017 and 4-12 the following year. There was a moment, however, where York believed his 49ers could make a quantum leap. Yeah, all the way to the Super Bowl.

“The moment we were able to draft Nick Bosa, I thought that this was possible,” York said Friday in an Q&A with local media. “Knowing the moves that [Shanahan and Lynch] had made already, even going back to Trent Baalke, we have invested in our defensive line. Something important for Kyle was to have a Super Bowl caliber defensive line. When you bring Dee Ford through a trade/free agency, and then you’re able to get a player like Nick there when you’re drafting second, you knew that you had a chance. That’s when it sort of hit for me.”

Bosa has proven York right. The 49ers will play Kansas City for the NFL title on Feb. 2 in Miami thanks in large part to the presumptive Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bosa has made a huge impact on the 49ers this season, helping form the NFL’s best defensive line while dominating against the run and pass.

Bosa headlines a productive NFL draft class that also includes receiver Deebo Samuel, linebacker Dre Greenlaw and punter Mitch Witchnowsky. They joined a group that went through hard times in 2018 after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt, but still managed to play some close games and provide optimism for the future.

“Watching what we were able to do last year after Jimmy got hurt, it took some time for us to find our way,” York said. “The offense was still able to do fairly well and be exciting. Knowing that our young guys had an opportunity to learn and grow was important. Not that we were going to make a push into January last year, but our guys were able to become pros. Some guys who maybe wouldn’t have been able to play if we were in a playoff hunt got a chance to grow last year. That gave us a chance to have a seasoned team, even if it doesn’t show it from their age.”

[RELATED: York hopeful 49ers get White House invite]

York wasn’t just looking for signs of progress with Garoppolo back and Bosa in the fray. He came into the year expecting big things, with full confidence in Lynch and Shanahan that they could reach the highest level and play in this Super Bowl.

“This is always what we’ve worked for,” York said. “Anybody that says we aim to go from 4-12 to 8-8, that’s never what we’re looking for. I always believe that, if you have the right mix of culture and talent, you give yourself a chance to win. I give so much credit to Kyle and John for what they’ve been able to do, and I’ll do whatever I can to support them.”

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

President Donald Trump reportedly told sports commissioners and top executives Saturday that he believes the NFL should start on time with fans returning to stadiums by August despite the coronavirus outbreak.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn't share the same thoughts.

The governor was asked about Trump's reported prediction, and said he doesn't envision California having made enough progress against the virus for it to be business as usual for the NFL come fall.

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.

"It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.' "

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Newsom is making sure to prioritize safety and caution above all else before letting sports return.

“Our decision on that basis here in the State of California will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our ability to meet this moment and bend the curve, and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether that's appropriate," Newsom said. "Right now, I’m just focusing on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”

[RELATED: 49ers reportedly eye WR/CB at No. 13, plan to trade No. 31]

The truth of the matter is that no one knows how long this will last or when sports will be able to return to packed stadiums. The NFL is planning on starting the schedule on time with fans in the stadium, but that might not be the case in California. With many epidemiologists expecting the virus to surge again the fall, the fate of the NFL's season is very much up in the air.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, told Warriors star Steph Curry that sports can only safely return once the country as a whole has turned the corner from the outbreak and the medical system no longer is under strain.

As of Saturday, there were more than 270,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and NBC News reporting.

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

While the NFL offseason programs are postponed, many players are still working out to be ready for the time when the teams are able to get back to work in an organized setting.

In Miami, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Clelin Ferrell are working out with private defensive line coach Mark Hall.

Hall, who recently was a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, sent a video to NBC Sports Bay Area of the three players working out.

[RELATED49ers mailbag: Could Gore or Walker return in free agency?]

The 49ers recently traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and re-signed Armstead to a four-year, $84 million contract. Ferrell will enter his second season with the Las Vegas Raiders after being the club’s first-round selection at No. 4 overall in the 2019 draft.