Steve Young shares surprising wisdom he learned from Bill Walsh

The Hall of Fame 49ers quarterback Steve Young shared some interesting, and surprising, wisdom he learned from legendary 49ers head coach Bill Walsh.

1988 NFC Divisional Playoff Game - Minnesota Vikings vs San Francisco 49ers - January 1, 1989
1988 NFC Divisional Playoff Game - Minnesota Vikings vs San Francisco 49ers - January 1, 1989 / Arthur Anderson/GettyImages

In a recent interview, Hall of Fame San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young shared the most important thing he learned from the greatest 49ers coach of all time, Bill Walsh.

His answer may surprise you.

Steve Young shares surprising wisdom he learned from Bill Walsh

The snippet from the interview can be watched below, and it is worth watching. The clip is from the This is Football podcast by reporter Kevin Smith for ESPN.

In Young's response, he essentially says that the most important thing he learned from Walsh is that, ultimately, it is about relationships in football. If you do not truly love and care about your fellow players and enjoy being in the trenches with one another, then there is no chance that you will be able to play to your full potential.

Young said that Walsh would make efforts to foster this connection so that players would get to know each other and understand one another's perspectives. This brings to mind a great moment from the oustanding America's Game series from the episode about the 1994 49ers.

At about the seven-minute mark in the video, 49ers tight end Brent Jones talks about how he was excited when he was signed by San Francisco in 1987 because he was going to room with his friend, great 49ers running back Tom Rathman, in training camp.

However, Jones was told by offensive assistant Mike Holmgren that he would be rooming with Steve Young. This directive likely came from Walsh or was at least influenced by him because he knew Young and Jones were in similar situations. Jones was the backup to tight end Russ Francis and Young was the backup to Joe Montana.

Walsh likely knew that when the time came for Young and Jones to be starters, they were going to need to have that connection and understanding that Young spoke about in the clip above. Jones talks in the America's Game episode about how him and Young would stay up late into the night talking about their dreams of being starters.

This just shows that there was more to the genius of Bill Walsh than X's and O's. Walsh rightfully has a reputation for being an offensive visionary, so it is easy to think of him as a coach that did not pay too much attention to relationships between players and instead focused solely on strategy and play design.

Yet, he understood that football is a game played by people. The dynamics that make a group of 11 people work together well remain consistent whether it is football or an office job. If you trust and care about the people you are working with, then you are going to have better results.

This is a great lesson from the late Walsh, and it also speaks to the success that the current 49ers have had. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have fostered a culture in which the team seems to have a really good and selfless chemistry where wide receivers take pride in blocking way down the field and players seem to really enjoy playing with one another.

While it has yet to result in the championships that Walsh was able to win, it has created a perennial contender in the NFC.

Young talking about this wisdom from Bill Walsh is a great lens through which we can understand the man's brilliance as a football coach while at the same time reflecting on what has made the 49ers successful under the current regime.

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