• Evan Sowards

Baalke Versus Chip Kelly

Following the news of the firing of Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly, the leaks are already flowing like fine wine in a Game of Thrones episode. If you’ve followed the San Francisco 49ers the last few years, you’re already probably fairly aware of how the team operates. As things start to get bad, leaks start to come out. Maybe a player is unhappy about something, maybe it’s a power struggle deciding whether or not to bench Blaine Gabbert. Inevitably, they follow the team wherever it goes.

Or at least that’s how its been for a while now. Today in Jed’s press conference multiple writers had noted that leaks had become a staple with the team. When pressed, Jed dismissed it and implied he had done his due diligence in letting those necessary to know they would be relieved of their duties.

Chip coming from Philadelphia had brought a reputation of being difficult to work with, racist, and unfair towards star players. In his one year with the 49ers, he had done just about everything correctly in showing the opposite when given the opportunity. He backed Colin Kapeernick the entire way through his protest. Chip always took blame for their struggles and seemed to have built a real rapport with the team.

According to Jay Glazer, from early on, Chip Kelly became aware almost immediately of Trent’s attempt to undermine Chip Kelly and get him removed from the team. Think about that. The guy linked to getting rid of Harbaugh, the guy who stopped the hiring of potential coach of the year, Adam Gase, from coming to what was a basically done deal hiring by the 49ers, and now he’s trying to get Chip Kelly fired. Chip’s gone now so let’s address this.

When it comes to head coaches the last three years, Trent Baalke has had a chance to work with plenty of different types. He’s on record having not gotten along with Jim Harbaugh. Then once Jim “mutually parted ways” with the team, they brought in company man Jim Tomsula. Tomsula was the guy everyone loved, nicest man in the room. Last person you would expect to be hard to work with. There weren’t many reports on Trent and Jim Tomsula’s relationship but after a 5-11 win season he was also let go.

Come to this season. Chip Kelly is hired. He’s a great friend of Tom Gamble, who is also known to be friends with Trent Baalke. This mutual friendship is led to make everyone believe they will all work very well going forward. The issues that we had seen with Harbaugh and Baalke, wouldn’t be happening this time around. Almost as if Tom Gamble would be a peer mediator to all those dealing with Trent. Yet with the report from Jay, Trent was conspiring to get rid of Kelly before the season was over.

Jed being the owner gives fans a pretty large target. He’s the guy that stands front and center whenever someone gets hired or fired. At the end of the year with a record of 2-14, people angrily waited to hear what he had to say when in reality no one was going to be okay with the answer. This is a fair reaction. You don’t get thrown into immense success and sucked right out like us fans have and not come away bitter.

The reality though, every mistake, every problem, every hiring and firing can be led back to Trent in a way even Kevin Bacon would be proud of. It all comes back to Trent. So before you sharpen your pitchfork and light your Molotov cocktails, maybe save them for next year. With a seemingly clean slate on the horizon, we might just be closer than it seems. As Harvey Dent so eloquently said, “the night is always darkest before the dawn”.