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GameDay: The 49ers In Free Fall

(KPIX 5) -- Has any organization in sports fallen so far and fast as the San Francisco 49ers?

Two years ago they were within five yards of winning a Super Bowl. They had been to three straight NFC Championships and were considering Super Bowl favorites. Today, they are 7-7, not going to the playoffs, and imploding in every aspect imaginable.

Ray McDonald was released following another police investigation at his house, this one for an alleged sexual assault.  The accuser was not his fiancée.

Jim Harbaugh was reportedly offered $48 million over six years at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. His relationship with Jed York has deteriorated to the point where the owner can't stand the coach. Harbaugh is reportedly "considering" the Michigan job.

Pass rushing specialist Aldon Smith missed nine games with numerous legal issues, including possession of an assault weapon and driving under the influence.

Colin Kaepernick has regressed to the point where football people are wondering if he's still the long term answer at quarterback.

Levi's Stadium endured a rough rookie season, including traffic problems, five different grass fields and an east side of the stadium that feels more like Death Valley. And, by all accounts, Levi's offers no 12th man advantage.

Running back Frank Gore, receiver Michael Crabtree and offensive lineman Mike Iupati all are free agents. None of them is likely to return, unless Gore wants to play for peanuts.  Crabtree was a major disappointment and Iupati will be too expensive.   Did I mention that Justin Smith might retire?

As dysfunctional as the Raiders were at the height of their dysfunction, the 49ers are giving Al Davis a run for his money with the glut of on-the-field, off-the-field and inner-office battles within the 49ers organization.  (Although it would be hard for Jed to match Davis' overhead projector bit in dismissing Lane Kiffin.) The 49ers year was a perfect storm that destroyed one season and threw 2015 and beyond into one great big question mark.

Jed York is throwing Harbaugh out the door. He is in the minority among his fan base.

A poll on KPIX.COM shows 68% in favor of keeping Harbaugh, who is under contract for one more season.  If York wins the power struggle, which he will, he is on the hook.  He instantly becomes public enemy number one if his next hire becomes the next Mike Singletary. "I want winners!"

The NFC West is vastly improved.  The Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams ALL will be contenders in the division next season.   Will the 49ers be in the mix?

Since this is the Christmas season, I'll fill the faithful stockings with a bit of holiday cheer.  Injuries decimated the 49ers, especially on the offensive line.   Pro Bowl linebackers Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman will be back in 2015, as will a healthy right tackle Anthony Davis and center Daniel Kilgore.

With the addition of a new coach means the subtraction of the bizarre drama that unfolded between Harbaugh and the suits.  It will also mean some sort of overhaul in the offense which must improve its 27th ranking in the NFL.

The 2014 season is the 20th anniversary of the 49ers last Super Bowl win.    Levi's Stadium will host the Super Bowl in a little more than a year, and not long ago it seemed like destiny that the 49ers have home field advantage.

How the mighty have fallen, fast.

See you on TV.


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