The San Francisco 49ers fell just short of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings deserves absolutely none of the blame for the 25-22 result at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jennings had a good case to be Super Bowl MVP had the 49ers pulled off the victory in overtime. Jennings was responsible for both of the Niners’ touchdowns against the Chiefs.
The 26-year-old wideout caught 4 passes for 42 yards and 1 critical touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter that gave the 49ers a 16-13 lead.
More surprisingly was Jennings’ involvement in the first TD of the game that gave San Francisco a 10-0 lead. The former high school quarterback had a throwback moment went he complete a 21-yard TD pass to Christian McCaffrey late in the second quarter.
Jennings became just the second player in NFL history to both a passing and receiving TD in a Super Bowl contest.
San Francisco 49ers WR Jauan Jennings: Game Manager Or Game Changer?
The moment was one X (formerly known as Twitter) took complete advantage of. Several spectators took the opportunity to weight in on whether Jennings was a “game manager” or “game changer” — the same debate that 49ers QB Brock Purdy has been involved in throughout this season.
Some vehemently resented the idea that Jennings was a mere product of the Kyle Shanahan offensive system.
STOP SAYING JAUAN JENNINGS IS A GAME-MANAGER
— Andy Behrens (@andybehrens) February 12, 2024
Love seeing Jauan Jennings break the "game manager" stereotype
— Sam Ali (@SamAliSports) February 12, 2024
Others saw the moment as definitive evidence that Jennings was just benefiting from the system around him.
Jauan Jennings is a game manager https://t.co/sB2TYsQ0qM
— Clem (@TheClemReport) February 12, 2024
jauan jennings is a game manager
— MedSchoolLocks (@MedSchoolLocks) February 12, 2024
Jauan Jennings. Game manager.
— Goff (@Jason1Goff) February 12, 2024
Purdy and 49ers fans have fought against the notion all season that the former “Mr. Irrelevant” was just a game manager, a claim brought about by former NFL MVP Cam Newton.
San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy Likely Has Not Shed The Game Manager Label
Purdy didn’t play like a true game changer against the Chiefs, but he did come up big in certain spots to give his team a chance to succeed. Just like how the jokes about Jennings went both ways, Purdy’s performance seemingly lent itself to both theories as well.
Perhaps if Jake Moody’s PAT went through or the unlucky punt return off Darrell Luter Jr’s foot didn’t happen, the 49ers might have won and Purdy would be taking a victory lap after beating the game manager allegations.
But at the same time, a true game changer (see one Mahomes, Patrick) might have pulled off the victory no matter the underlying circumstances.
Purdy went 23/38 for 255 yards with 1 touchdown in the contest.
One thing we can say for certain about the 49ers after the contest was that Jauan Jennings was indeed a game changer for his squad.