Shockingly, fans continue to endure the woeful 49ers at Levi’s Two-Thirds-Empty Stadium. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Shockingly, fans continue to endure the woeful 49ers at Levi’s Two-Thirds-Empty Stadium. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Polian is willing to help 49ers, but are Yorks ready and able?

Way to go, you Santa Clara mopes. Great loss on Sunday. Maybe the best of the season. Thanks for playing.

The come-from-ahead, 23-17 overtime meltdown against the lame-butt New York Jets all but clinched the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft. There’s not another win on the schedule. One-and-15, here we come, baby.

Now, the question becomes: Who will be responsible for those personal decisions after this season from hell is finally o-vah.

Balls nominates the pilot who hovered above Levi’s Two-Thirds-Empty Stadium with the “Fire Baalke” sign in tow.

We don’t need any outdated reports to know that general manager Trent Baalke has one foot and one big toe out the door. This space told you that the moment coach Chip Kelly was hired 11 months ago. Promoting assistant GM Tom Gamble and having Gamble and Kelly handle the football operations would be the next obvious move. Gamble and Kelly were chummy with the Philadelphia Eagles for two seasons and experienced some success together.

If the York family wants to be really smart and creative (insert laugh track here), they can hire Hall of Famer Bill Polian to oversee the football side.

Five years ago, Polian was a team executive for the Indianapolis Colts. But now an ESPN analyst, he has his finger on the pulse of the game and league. At 74, he wouldn’t be a white knight, anyway. He would be a wise, old head who could help get this Chipwreck up and running again. The guy has forgotten more football than Baalke remembers.

Gamble and Polian also know one another quite well. In Indy, where Polian built a Super Bowl winner, Gamble served as a scout under him for seven years.

Po knows hopelessness, too. In 1985, he took over a similarly lousy Buffalo Bills team that had come off back-to-back 2-14 seasons. Four years later, it made the first of four consecutive Super Bowl appearances — the first three with him at the controls.

Word has it that Polian would like to become a senior advisor, not a micro-manager. But at his age, he wants to be heard. There’s the rub. At a time when old man John York has threatened to get more involved, would ownership give even a proven Hall of Famer enough authority to make it his worthwhile?

The Faithless fear they know the answer.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT: After Sunday’s loss, Kelly claimed he had “tremendous confidence in Trent,” then his nose began to grow. The coach is a lie-abetic, not to mention a conniver, so don’t believe a word of it.

No, Kelly showed his true colors when he turtled with the lead in the second half. In an unusually stark admission, the coach later conceded that he had no faith in the offense. That was an indictment of the GM and the godawful team that he has put on the field this season.

The conservative ways also said a lot about what Kelly thought about the pass game, namely, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his chronic inability to deliver the ball on time and accurately. In five of his last eight quarters — overtime not included — Kaepernick passed for a total of eight yards.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight.

What are the chances that Kelly continues to play Kaepernick, not because he wants to but because the GM and/or owner says he has to?

JUST CHECKIN’: The 4-9 Jets practiced in New Jersey, flew nearly six hours across three time zones, played without two starters in the secondary, started a rookie quarterback, fell behind 14-0 in the first five minutes, lost feature back Matt Forte a short time later and still won in overtime.

Thanks much. Balls just wants to make sure it got that right.

JUST SAYIN’: The more Jets’ tackle Leonard Williams dominates, the more Balls wonders whether the D-challenged Raiders made a mistake to select Amari Cooper two spots ahead of him in the 2015 draft.

JUST ASKIN’: Santa Clara has blown seven-, six- and 14-point leads the last three weeks. So, does Obamacare cover choking?

STILL WAITING: Chairman Colin hasn’t won a football game in 422 days.

THE LIST: Top reasons why Kaepernick was outplayed by jamokes named Matt Barkley and Bryce Petty the last two weeks:
The wind was blowing. (Special thanks to CSN Bay Area.)
The snow was swirling.
The ball was bouncing.
The defense was trying.
The coaches were hallucinating.


YOUR TURN: “Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your column, and not because I used to deliver the paper when I as a kid growing up in the Marina district. Anyway, I look forward to reading your take on the sporting life and usually agree, and even when I don’t, it’s always entertaining. Balls rocks!” — Steve Benjamin, Santa Rosa

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read