Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Securing Super Bowl latest 49ers triumph
By Mike Sando
The Super Bowl is coming to the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in 2016, the latest victory for the organization.
The announcement, delivered by the NFL on Tuesday, was expected because South Florida's efforts had faltered. That should not diminish the moment for San Francisco or the 49ers.
Count this as another sign of progress for the team under chief operating officer Jed York. The recent scorecard includes:
- Hiring Baalke as GM: Hiring Trent Baalke as general manager didn't seem like a bold move at the time. Baalke had been working in the organization for years. The organization had slipped somewhat during that time. However, Baalke played a role in landing the right coach, and he has blossomed as a first-time GM. Maximizing the draft and trades related to the draft appear to be one specialty.
- Getting Harbaugh as coach: Baalke's hiring precipitated Jim Harbaugh's hiring as coach for the 2011 season. Harbaugh's immediate success validated the personnel work Baalke and former GM Scot McCloughan had done in building the roster. As a bonus, they landed a hot candidate without giving him a GM-type role.
- Drafting a franchise QB: Colin Kaepernick played a leading role in getting the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season, less than two years after Baalke and Harbaugh used a second-round pick to select him.
- Finding an elite pass-rusher: Aldon Smith's selection as the seventh overall choice in the 2011 draft was not a widely anticipated move. Mock drafts generally were not projecting Smith to go to the 49ers. The move has been a home run so far. Smith had 19.5 sacks last season.
- Two division titles: The 49ers have won the past two NFC West titles.
- Super Bowl appearance: The 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl in Harbaugh's second season, a first for the organization since the 1994 season.
- Securing a new stadium: Candlestick Park has a rich history, but no future. Teams have struggled mightily to get new stadiums built in California. The 49ers made it happen.
- Selling naming-rights deal: The 49ers reached a $220.3 million stadium naming-rights deal with Levi Strauss & Co. The deal will help pay down the stadium debt.
- Securing Super Bowl: Teams building new stadiums in areas with relatively moderate climates fare pretty well in securing Super Bowls. Still, there were no guarantees for the 49ers. They partnered with local leaders to win the bid.
OK, enough praise for one team in one post. Let's get back to mocking one another in the comments section. I'll kick it off by asking, "Which NFC West team is most likely to represent the NFC in the 49ers' new stadium?"