Steve Young Destroys 49ers’ Management, Says Yorks Only In It For The Money
I've always considered Steve Young the best quarterback in 49ers history -- and while that's made for some interesting moments with Joe Montana zealots (hey! Who threw that brick?), it's still my story and I'm sticking to it.
Young has also proven to be an intelligent, no-nonsense commentator (CBS, ESPN) as well -- a clear voice in a field of former QB time-fillers such as Bradshaw, Esiason and Simms. Young broadcasts like he played -- with a unique blend of precision and abandon, sometimes running downfield without a helmet if that's what it took.
So it's no surprise that, when asked about the state of the 49ers on his weekly KNBR-680 radio segment on Wednesday, he pulled no punches.
“In the NFL, you don’t have to win to make money,” Young said. “The greatest growth equity value teams are not necessarily the winners. In fact, if you think about the 49ers in the last 15 years since the Yorks owned the team, you’re talking about equity values that went from — I’m just rough now — $200 million in 2000 to well over maybe $2 billion. It’s like 10 times or more. It’s like Silicon Valley. That’s one of the great success stories of any tech business anywhere.
“That’s (the York’s) A-game. It’s what drives them. It’s what drives most of the owners. It’s what matters. And the B-game, is whether we win some games. It’s not that you don’t want to, or you don’t really want to, or it’s not really important. It’s just not the A-game."
Young pointed out that the 49ers are tracking toward a 1-15 season -- 6-26 over the past two seasons -- with a serious talent deficit, even though the team is currently more than $43 million below the salary cap.
"And so when it’s not the A-game, that’s the biggest issue with the NFL, is that success doesn’t track to success on the field. So you’re not held accountable."
Now comes some real greatness, as Young reels off a metaphor that's both greatly amusing and visually appealing.
“So no matter what we decide to do here, to me by definition, everybody out to the parking lot. Every living thing out to the parking lot. And nobody gets back in unless you can prove you’re part of the solution. I mean everybody. That’s a tough thing to do because you might have to start over in all kinds of ways.”
To Young, that includes pushing the reset button on the entire team philosophy. He was there for the majority of the Bill Walsh era, and it was that culture of winning that the team needs to recapture.
“So if you want to know about the 49ers, and you want to blame, it’s all over the place. But it’s not one place. And until you can say to anyone, 'what’s a 49er?’ ... we knew what a 49er was for 20 years. We need to know again. What are the 49ers? What’s the long plan? What’s the long-term plan that we’re going to have for who we are? And we’re going to get people in place and bet on them for five, six, seven years. Or else we’re just going to turn the turnstiles like the other 15-20 teams in the league that are just turnstiles.”
Young, along with former 49ers teammate Brent Jones, expressed interest in buying an NFL franchise back as early as 2001, but none were available at the time. Denise DeBatolo York, who took over when Eddie DeBartolo was forced out, had no interest in selling the 49ers. Would Young be interested in a GM role, or something else in management in Santa Clara?
I would guess no. Be he's sure sounding like the perfect candidate here. Forty-Niners fans might have to draft him and stage a coup.
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