San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York was in California trying to explain how swinging for the fences and missing by a mile was somehow a noble concept. Then he promised to swing again in the search for another new coach.
His former coach, Jim Harbaugh, was in Michigan, delivering snarky "subtweets" – "Do not be deceived. You will reap what you sow." At least that's what he was doing when not monitoring gossip from a high school all-star game to see how many more star recruits might become Wolverines.
His more recent former coach, Jim Tomsula – or "Jimmy T" as York kept calling him – was out of a job and hopefully en route to a beach somewhere because he was still owed $10.5 million for coaching the team for precisely one season (and five victories).
"We've got several years of Jimmy T's salary left," York acknowledged. "We're going to eat it."
York was eating a lot on Monday, taking all the blame, making all the apologies but never quite getting to the root of the problem. The franchise never should have fired Harbaugh, who may or may not be a pain in the neck to be around but is undoubtedly one of the best coaches in the sport.
A year ago York claimed he was doing it so the team could win a Super Bowl and "whenever we don't deliver that, I hope that you will hold me directly responsible and accountable for it." The fans did.
"I hear the criticism, loudly," York noted. "The blame falls on my shoulders squarely."
NFL franchises generally wander about in search of one of two things – a great coach and a great quarterback. When you get one, you cling to them and deal with whatever baggage they may bring. When you have two you can win it all. When you have them for a prolonged stretch, you become the New England Patriots (or the old 49ers).
San Francisco had one, then it ran him out, and now it tries again to find one again. Until it does, the place operates in the shadow of that original decision, haunted by Harbaugh.
"Jim Harbaugh is a good football coach," York said. "His success at Michigan doesn't surprise me at all … In terms of Jimmy T, we took a chance on someone we felt strongly about. Ultimately that didn't work out. You have to learn from mistakes, you have to learn from failure."
In Harbaugh's first season with the 49ers he took them to the NFC title game before losing in overtime to the New York Giants, the eventual Super Bowl champions. In his second season, the 49ers went to the Super Bowl and lost to Baltimore in a final-minute, goal-line stand &nash; three consecutive Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree passes failing.
In his third season the Niners returned to the NFC title game and fell to Seattle, the eventual Super Bowl champions, when Richard Sherman made a brilliant pass break-up on another would-be Kaepernick-to-Crabtree winner.
Three near misses, yet York was still positioning it differently.
"We're in need of someone who can win a Super Bowl," York said.
Didn't you have that guy, someone asked?
"We haven't won a Super Bowl since [the]1994 [season]," York said before ending the news conference.
For whatever reason the 49ers – York? General manager Trent Baalke? Everyone? – hated Harbuagh so much that this path somehow became preferable to them. What exactly Harbaugh did so bad remains a mystery – or it never really was so bad.
Regardless, Harbaugh was jettisoned after being undermined during an 8-8 season in his fourth year and landed quite happily at his alma mater in Ann Arbor. Ten wins and boundless optimism later, he looks content, even enjoying the Niners' current plight.
"I'm aware of [the tweet]," York said with a smile. "But I can't focus on things outside our coaching search."
Yes, the coaching search. Last year it almost ended with current Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase but the Niners pulled back at the last moment. Instead it went with Tomsula, whose agreeable personality was sold as the balm for the dysfunction of Harbaugh.
Tomsula, who had never been a coordinator, proved to be in over his head. Gase is again one of the hottest candidates in the league.
"I'd rather take a swing, as we did with Jimmy T," York said. "And if you miss, the nice thing about the NFL is they reward you for missing, we have a high draft pick. I don't want to be drafting high but if we're not competing for championships I'd rather be drafting high."
There is also plenty of salary cap room, too. So that's nice.
Still, can 49er fans count on York and Baalke getting it right this time? How do you dump a proven winner of a coach? How and why did they think Tomsula would work?
"I can't look backwards," York said. "We can't win games we already played. We can't undue decisions that were already made."
Great coaches tend to have a temperament that leans more Harbaugh than Tomsula. They aren't generally the best-adjusted people out there. How exactly is Chip Kelly, who reportedly reached out, going to be different?
Time will tell. York and Baalke are young, maybe they learned; maybe they have an inside track on the right guy. If anything, York has learned to lay low as the owner, now trying to avoid pointless social media squabbles with fans.
"I think you've seen me take a step back from Twitter," he said. "I can't be a distraction to this team."
If nothing else, York certainly knows he needs to swing and connect this time.
"We didn't get this one right," York said.
If they don't do better this time, hold him accountable. Again.
Or root for Michigan.
More NFL on Yahoo Sports