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York deserves major credit for Niners' success

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Nov. 04, 2011 @ 4:22 a.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

You know the old saying about how it all starts at the top?

Daily team observers of the Niners agree that the axiom applies to team president Jed York, who they believe deserves a lot more credit than he has received for the Niners' tremendous turnaround so far this season.

"He got on a roll starting with his influence in getting the referendum passed for the stadium in Santa Clara," said one observer of York, who has very conscientiously replaced his father, John, as the face of the franchise.

The roll hit a bit of a snag when many questioned York's under-the-radar hiring of Trent Baalke as the new general manager.

"A lot of people griped that none of the other 31 teams would have even considered Baalke, but look at the draft picks, the signings.

"They've been really good."

Of course, the really good hiring of local hero Jim Harbaugh as the new head coach didn't hurt.

"It seemed like an obvious way to go, but Jed and Trent had to push hard to make it happen, with considerable competition from Miami. They convinced Harbaugh this was the best place for him."

And then Jed York did probably the best thing he's done for the team up to now.

"He borrowed a page from his uncle (former Niners owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who remains a major influence), stepped away and just let the football people he hired do their thing."

York's increased maturity has been hard to ignore.

"Absolutely, he's matured," said one source on the scene. "He doesn't get in trouble with anything he says.

"He's a pretty good spokesman. Things got a little hot with the fights that broke out at the Raiders-Niners preseason game this year. He moved fast to resolve the issues there, adding more security, among other things.

"He cleared things up very quickly and very effectively."

York also scored huge points by agreeing to foot the bill, at Harbaugh's request, for allowing the eight-member practice squad to attend all road games — a move designed to further those players' development and foster improved team unity.

"That's not a cheap deal," the observer said. "But Jed had no problem with it."

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