San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York: I’m Judging Jim Harbaugh on Wins and Super Bowls, Not His Persona in the Media

January 30, 2013 – 8:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

When Jed York and the San Francisco 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh to be their head coach, they knew they weren’t landing somebody who was going to be a favorite within the media. That’s fine — they wanted somebody who was going to win them games and take them to the Super Bowl. They might have gotten that faster than they even expected, as Harbaugh and the Niners get set for Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York joined 95.7 The Game with John Lund and Greg Papa to discuss what it’s like to be at the Super Bowl now compared to when he was a kid, his goal to restore the Niners franchise, how he landed Jim Harbaugh as head coach, how Harbaugh has quickly changed the culture and if he ever gets irked by how Harbaugh comes off to the media.

What’s it like now going to the Super Bowl compared to when you used to go as a young lad?:

“I feel like I’m eight years old. It literally feels like I’m back to that point, where this is where the 49ers are supposed to be year-in and year-out. I literally feel like I’m back in my childhood.”

Was it your goal all along to restore the organization?:

“That’s always what it was about, even when people thought we were crazy, when we were talking about putting the 49ers back on top of the mantle. … It seemed like a big stretch at the time, but either go big or go home. That’s what we’re about. We’re about competing for Super Bowls year-in and year-out, and we’re back in that position now. It’s a testament to the hard work that Jim and Trent have put in and the great players that we have in our locker room and the great group of guys that we have.”

How did you land Jim Harbaugh?:

“He’s not maybe the most well-liked guy in the media or across the league. Jim is very comfortable being himself. And I think the way we approached it, very early on, you had colleges and you had pro teams sort of setting deadlines and ultimatums. … And then they’d come back when he didn’t respond, ‘Well, we’ll raise the number and do this for you.’ I looked at it as Jim lived in Palo Alto, or outside Palo Alto … his wife had just given birth to their second daughter and he wanted an opportunity to compete for Super Bowls. And when we sat down with him, it wasn’t, ‘We’ll give you everything that you want; here’s all this money,’ … it was, ‘This is a team effort. I don’t think you want to leave and go across the country. … We have a talented team that has underachieved. You need to choose that you want to be here as much as we need to choose you.'”

On Harbaugh being able to quickly change the culture:

“Again, I think there is a good group of people in the locker room, first. What he’s gotten them to do is he’s gotten them to perform to their peak performance … not just on the field, but off the field. And he’s gotten them to come together as a group of people, where it really is a family and they treat each other like that. And that doesn’t mean that they always get along. Sometimes there are fights. Sometimes you have a quarterback change in the middle of the season that not everybody is fired up for at the point, and now it shows why he made a quarterback change. … You have a very unique dynamic on this team that’s special.”

Does it ever bother you how Jim comes off in the media?:

“Ultimately, I’m going to judge Jim on whether he wins or loses and if he’s getting us to compete for Super Bowls and win Super Bowls. I don’t think Jim is as bad as what some people think he is in the media. He’s just himself, and he has no interest in promoting himself. He has no interest in doing anything that’s not about the team. … Could he be better and could he be more generous in the media?Yeah, I’m sure he could. But that’s not who he is, and I respect who he is, and I don’t want to put our coach or any of our players in a position that they’re not comfortable with.”

Listen to Jed York on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco here

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