Tom Gamble Was No Gamble
Tom Gamble worked for the San Francisco 49ers from 2010 through 2013. In that time the team acquired linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, fullback Bruce Miller, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, free safety Eric Reid and many more valued contributors.
While Gamble was with Philadelphia, the team added tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Jordan Matthews, plus free agent additions like outside linebacker Connor Barwin, safety Malcolm Jenkins and a key off-season trade to acquire veteran running back Darren Sproles.
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The 2009 San Franciso 49ers were 8-8. In 2010 they fell to 6-10. In 2011 (Gamble on board) they skyrocketed to 13-3. In 2012, they dropped slightly to 11-4-1. But they recovered to 12-4 in 2013. After Tom Gamble left, the team fell to 8-8 in 2014. This season, after losing their head coach, a number of defections to retirement or other teams, the team is back to 4-11. A quick plummet. But the guy was successful and beloved in San Franciso. Why was the Philadelphia offer attractive to him? Simply put, his father’s health was suffering and he wanted to be closer to his father.
"“Not a great time of year, no question, but because of my relationships there, Trent Baalke, and the head coach, ownership, for them to allow that for a lot of different reasons, we were able to come to an agreement and we were able to talk to them… We visited for a couple days. I wasn’t looking to leave. Had a great situation. Loved it there. But this is a little bit something different when you have a chance to come back home. I applaud the 49ers for allowing me to do it. It’s unusual, tough time of year, but they were nice enough to allow me to do it.” – Tom Gamble"
The Philadelphia Eagles benefitted almost immediately. 10-6 and the NFC East division winner under Chip Kelly, but also under Tom Gamble. 10-6 the following year. When Tom Gamble was fired, the Eagles personnel management fell to now head coach / general manager Chip Kelly.
So when Gamble returned to San Francisco, they didn’t immediately bounce up. Well, that matter of losing their head coach Jim Harbaugh and all the player defections afterwards were awfully difficult to patch on the fly. The team took ten draft choices and the prospects have great upside. Many thought the San Francisco team would be the worst of the NFL, and they haven’t surprised anyone so far. But teams in a rebuild take time to prosper. We’ll see how that goes both in San Francisco and in Philadelphia.
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