Programming note: Watch the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan introductory press conference on Thursday at 1pm on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
Day drinking is not generally encouraged as a pastime for the obvious medical, social and cultural reasons, but you know someone is thinking about the 49ers’ annual Meet The New Guy press conference Thursday and thinking “drinking game.”
In this case it will be “Guys,” as in new general manager John Lynch and his co-worker/putative superior, head coach Kyle Shanahan, so the mood of the day will be “buzzwords.” Lots and lots of diffuse, amorphopus, obfuscatory Silicon Valley-quality buzzwords.
Like “culture.” The 49ers are big on talking about “culture,” as though the front office is just some giant social experiment of indulgent chatterboxes with agendas that need constant airing. Jed York has talked often about “re-establishing a championship culture,” which of course brings back thoughts of the winning culture that was there under the tenure of The Coach Who Shall Not Be Named. In other words, “culture” probably means “winning without giving the owner a crippling eye-throbbing migraine three of every four days.”
That’s a drink.
So is “culture’s” bastard son, “winning environment.” A “winning environment” is also known as “winning,” which the 49ers tried briefly earlier in the decade before giving it up for the greater glories of chain of command. Why the single word “winning” doesn’t suffice as a buzzword only reminds us that adding words does not link directly to added clarity, but it does help obfuscate whatever point is being made and makes the user sound like a middle-management nitwit sound more self-important than he or she deserves.
That’s a drink -- probably a brandy snifter of whatever is closest to the bartender’s hand. And it’s also a memo from HR about disrespecting people in offices.
Another beauty that will be cited often is “one of the league’s marquee teams.” Yeah, a generation ago, maybe. That hasn’t been true for most of the last 15 years, and 15 years is one-seventh of the entire life span of the National Football League. In short, the Harbaugh Years were more an aberration than a link to the good old days, and using a distant past as a shield is not all that different than the Turks claiming they are a mighty nation based on once being the seat of the Ottoman Empire. In other words, the glorious past will not save the nebulous future – only the future will, which is why Lynchahan was brought in.
So yeah, that’s a drink. Probably a beer stein or Thermos, only filled to the brim with Glenmorangie neat to insure a smooth aftertaste and temporary blindness.
And finally, the gold standard – “face of the franchise.” The 49ers are especially big on this one, because it means someone is designated to talk to the world while about eight other people quietly leak things to favored media types. It’s meant in this case to offer up one of the new hires as the designee who has to do the pressers when things go to crap.
The brutal fact is, faces of franchises aren’t designated, they just happen, and if your team’s FOTF isn’t a player, your team is eyelids-deep in five-win seasons. The face of the Patriots is Tom Brady. The face of the Packers is Aaron Rodgers. The face of the Raiders is Derek Carr, although it will be Mark Davis with a red slash across his haircut if the team gets permission to move to Las Vegas.
But Lynch and Shanahan will be cited as a great advancement in this pointless FOTF concept, and as long as that is so, the franchise will be feckless and weak and easily mocked. It is up to the two of them to draft, trade for, sign or otherwise develop the face of the franchise. If they do, they will have done very well indeed. If they don’t, the face of the franchise will continue to be a biplane with “Fire (Fill In The Blank), He Sucks.”
So yeah, a drink. Hell, if they pull that one out, buy drinks for the bar.
Thus, day drinking will happen Thursday, and unless we miss our guess, a lot of drinks will be poured. But a helpful warning from your friends at CSN (both of them; most of us couldn’t give a 47th of a damn either way) to you – just be careful out there. Oh, and make sure you bring someone along who doesn’t care about the 49ers at all. That’s the one you give the car keys to, got it?