3 Kyle Shanahan 49ers Super Bowl mistakes that would get a lesser-known coach fired

If Kyle Shanahan was a lesser-known coach, chances are any of these three mistakes would have gotten him fired after the 49ers lost another Super Bowl.

Feb 8, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan during a press
Feb 8, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan during a press / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Kyle Shanahan is recognized around the league as one of, if not the brightest offensive mind in the game today. He's led some of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen, including an incredibly potent San Francisco 49ers offense this past season that ranked third in points and second in yards despite starting Brock Purdy, "Mr. Irrelevant", at the quarterback position. We saw glimpses of his wizardry on Sunday night with the trick play involving Jauan Jennings throwing a touchdown pass.

Shanahan deserves his flowers for everything he's done in the regular season as an offensive coordinator and as a head coach. He's led the Niners to a 64-51 record with him at the helm in the last seven seasons, taking them to the Super Bowl twice in the last half-decade. While he deserves praise for that, his resume in the Super Bowl has been less than impressive with three total appearances as a coordinator and head coach combined, and three double-digit leads blown.

Shanahan being as respected as he is and having as much success as he's had in San Francisco makes him one of the safest head coaches in the league when it comes to job security. If he was a lesser-known head coach, his seat might be hot or completely on fire after these three mistakes made in the Super Bowl.

3. Kyle Shanahan not using Christian McCaffrey more was unacceptable

The 49ers had one of, if not the most potent offenses in the NFL in large part because of Christian McCaffrey who proved that the elite running backs should absolutely get paid. McCaffrey's first full season with the 49ers was ridiculous as expected, as he ran for a league-leading 1,459 yards and 14 touchdowns while also racking up 564 yards in the air and catching seven more touchdowns.

McCaffrey racked up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage on the year, and also led the league with 339 touches. His absurd season resulted in the 27-year-old winning the AP Offensive Player of the Year Award and finishing third in the MVP balloting.

Despite that year, Shanahan simply did not use CMC enough in the biggest game of the year. He did have 22 attempts on the ground and caught another eight passes which is fine, but the Niners clearly needed to feed him the ball more. Brock Purdy was having all kinds of trouble generating any sort of consistency throwing the ball and with the Chiefs defense against the run being suspect at best, McCaffrey needed to touch the ball more, particularly late.

The Niners began the second half with six straight passing plays. Shanahan already neglected the running game in the second half of the Falcons' famous collapse against the Patriots, to see him do it again, albeit to a lesser extent, was just absurd. The Niners went away from their bread and butter when they had the chance to put the game away. Shanahan deserves blame for that.