Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. But what happens if we all get fooled again? Who are you? You are Kyle Shanahan, an offensive wunderkind propped up by his father's patented zone blocking scheme. It is an incredibly captivating and methodical offense to watch unfold. Too bad you still have to use your head a bit when your season is on the line in February...
For the third time in the last eight NFL seasons, Shanahan was the primary reason his NFC team lost the Super Bowl. Back in 2016, he refused to run the ball up 28-3 vs. the New England Patriots when he was the Atlanta Falcons' hotshot offensive coordinator. In 2019, he let something called Wasp sting his San Francisco 49ers down in Miami. Now in 2023, he did not know the rules of overtime...
The Super Bowl's overtime rules allow both teams to possess the ball, even if the initial team receiving the ball scores a touchdown. While Shanahan's team thought it was like any old overtime period, Andy Reid's Kansas City Chiefs were ready for this moment. They prepared for this moment, and were rewarded as such for doing so. Fortune favors the bold, as well as the prepared. You'd think?
Not only did Shanahan capsize his team by electing to receive first, he failed to realize that he would be putting Steve Wilks' defense in a horrific spot, as Patrick Mahomes was going for it on every fourth down. This is the latest example of coaching malpractice to come from Shanahan in a Super Bowl...
Here are some telling grafs from Lindsay Jones's postgame write-up on The Ringer on the Chiefs side:
The Chiefs’ overtime plan worked out exactly how they had hoped—and it wasn’t by accident. Kansas City safety Justin Reid told The Ringer that the Chiefs had first discussed the new overtime rules as far back as training camp. Defensive lineman Chris Jones told me players were prepared for what to expect if the Super Bowl went to overtime.
“We talked through this for two weeks,” Jones said. “How we was going to give the ball to the opponent; if they scored, we was going for two at the end of the game. We rehearsed it.”
Now juxtapose that with how the Niners looked at overtime:
"The 49ers did not do the same. Multiple San Francisco players said after the game that they were not aware that the overtime rules are different in the playoffs than they are in the regular season, and strategy discussions over how to handle the overtime period did not occur as a team. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead said he learned the details of the postseason rule when it was shown on the Allegiant Stadium jumbotron during a TV timeout after regulation. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk said he assumed the 49ers asked to receive when they won the toss because that’s what you do in the regular season, when a touchdown wins the game. “I guess that’s not the case. I don’t really know the strategy,” Juszczyk said."
At some point, you have to look at the man in charge and wonder what the hell is even going on, man?
Kyle Shanahan's latest Super Bowl screw-up cost his team the big game
The 49ers were the favorite entering the game. Although the Chiefs were the reigning Super Bowl champions, they were only the No. 3 seed in the deep AFC for a few reasons. They would occasionally play down to the competition, as well as struggle to score points at times because of a less-than-stellar receiving corps. They certainly did enough to win, but the 49ers handed them the game over.
Whether it was a muffed punt, a missed PAT or whatever that was during overtime, the 49ers tried to give the game away to the Chiefs in the final minutes. Nobody is better at ripping defeat away from the jaws of victory than Shanahan. He has to wear this one, and he certainly owes Wilks an apology for giving him an impossible task. To stop Mahomes four downs in a row with the season on the line.
There is a reason why only Bobby Petrino is more despised in Atlanta than Shanahan. He cost Dirty Bird Nation their best shot at winning a Super Bowl ever. Now he has cost the Niner Faithful two to the same team in a similar heart-breaking fashion. That 49ers roster was loaded and magnificently built. Blame as much as you want on "Mr. Irrelevant" Brock Purdy, but Shanahan has to own this defeat.
When I think of Shanahan, I no longer think of offensive wizardry, I think of fourth-quarter meltdowns.