After a tumultuous 2-14 season, Jed York has fired Head Coach Chip Kelly and General Manager Trent Baalke – launching an all-out rebuild in the Bay. York released a statement saying:
“I have informed Trent and Chip of my decision to pursue new leadership for our football team. These types of conversations are never easy, especially when they involve people you respect personally and professionally. Trent gave this organization every ounce of effort he had over the past 12 years and his contributions were integral to the team reaching three straight NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl. I will forever be grateful for his dedication to the 49ers, and his friendship to me and my family. I wish Trent, Beth, and their daughters the very best in whatever the future holds for their family. Chip has my gratitude for the job he did this year, navigating the team through some adverse circumstances. I look forward to watching his career continue to unfold, and wish him and Jill great success in life. Despite my feelings for Trent and Chip, I felt the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary. The performance of this team has not lived up to my expectations or those of our fans, and that is truly disappointing. We all expected to see this team progress and develop as the season went on, but unfortunately that did not happen. That is why now is the time to find a new direction for this team.”
. While the firing of Kelly may not be as surprising, letting go of Baalke definitely caught 49ers fans everywhere off guard. While they have been calling for his firing for years, nobody actually believed York would let go of his most-trusted minion in Baalke.
The last time the 49ers fired two head coaches after one season back-to-back, they found perhaps the greatest head coach in NFL history in Bill Walsh. The 49ers will now be hoping history repeats itself this offseason.
However now that Trent is gone, the 49ers now become extremely appealing to coaching candidates. They also now become the only team in the league with a head coach and general manager position openings. This is attractive because a head coach can come in and bring in whatever general manager he sees fit. Without having to worry about a previous regime’s GM still in place, a coach will have more control and will not have to worry about conflicts arising due to differing viewpoints.
The 49ers hired Chip Kelly in 2016, only 11 days after firing then-head coach Jim Tomsula. They were hoping Kelly would come in with his notorious, high-tempo offense and turn things around in San Francisco.
Well, that didn’t quite happen. In fact, Kelly was not even able to match Tomsula’s record of 5-11. The famous high-powered offense did not fair so well – finishing 29th in total yards, 27th in points, and were 24th in offensive DVOA at Football Outsiders coming into the final week of the season. All in all, Kelly tied a franchise-worst with a 2-14 record. The last time the team went 2-14 was in the 2004-2005 season.
While Kelly’s offense did not live up to expectations by any means, few expected to see him ousted after only one season. By truly cleaning house, York shows knew he needed a fresh, blank slate to start anew. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the dark ages for 49ers fans, or perhaps Jed will be in the same spot next offseason, for the fifth straight time – stressing another need for a culture change.