Jim Harbaugh's Signing Marks a Critical Opportunity for the 49ers This Offseason

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Jim Harbaugh's Signing Marks a Critical Opportunity for the 49ers This Offseason
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers President and primary ownership representative Jed York has finally proven a man of his word this offseason.

Back in Week 17 of 2008, following a meaningless win by the 49ers in a home finale against the Washington Redskins, York made his first major move as team president: removing the interim tag from head coach Mike Singletary's title and naming the former Hall of Fame Chicago Bear linebacker the official successor to the ultimately disappointing Mike Nolan. York pledged that things would be different under Coach Sing, and that 2008 was "the last time [the 49ers'] season ends in December."

It was a promise the young and overly exuberant president could not live up to, as the 49ers have missed the playoffs in the following two seasons.

Following a Week 5 loss this past season in a Sunday Night home game against the Philadelphia Eagle—which wound up being much closer than it probably should have—York went on record as saying he still had full confidence in Coach Sing and the team and vowed the 49ers would rebound to win the NFC championship and return to the playoffs.

Despite an historically poor field of divisional competition, this too proved to be all bark and no bite from the young York.

However, since the 49ers were eliminated from the playoffs, York has delivered on a few of his vows. After firing Coach Sing following the Week 16 loss to the St. Louis Rams, York decreed that the top priority for the offseason would be to find a general manager and work with him to hire the next head coach. He said despite the two years of salary the 49ers still owe Coach Sing, money would be no object in finding the next head coach. He also said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh was the man the 49ers overwhelmingly wanted.

Less than two weeks later, Harbaugh was sitting at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, next to York and newly promoted GM Trent Baalke, being introduced as the 49ers 18th head coach (the 17th being Jim Tomsula). York had to wait out an overly-lucrative potential offer from the Miami Dolphins and sweeten a previous offer to keep Harbaugh from returning to Stanford, ultimately giving the first-time NFL head coach $25 million over five years.

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