The San Francisco 49ers will be entering the 2024 offseason with a huge what-if after losing Super Bowl LVIII to the Kansas City Chiefs. Critical coaching decisions during the game’s most important ultimately doomed the team to another loss at the expense of their AFC rivals.
Frustrated fans and the NFL media especially focused on two late-game decisions that head coach Kyle Shanahan could have done differently. He then took to the podium and addressed these issues that will become the talking points of many Niners fans for the coming weeks.
Kyle Shanahan defends San Francisco 49ers’ overtime decisions in Super Bowl LVIII
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Dierberger wrote about the head coach’s press conference, where he addressed multiple questions about the team’s tragic collapse at Allegiant Stadium. Some of the queries the coach answered zeroed in on his decision to go for the field goal when the count was fourth-and-4 from the nine-yard line.
If the team went it and scored, it would have put more pressure on the Chiefs to at least match the team on offense.
However, Shanahan explained that going for it wasn’t on the cards throughout overtime:
“No, we never thought about it there,” Shanahan said to reporters after the game. “Fourth-and-4, even if we do go and score, they can still go down and match it. So, no, there wasn’t a thought there.”
Another question that he had to answer was his decision to make the offense go first to test out the new playoff rules. He explained that his logic behind the decision was to give his team the momentum through the rules that not a lot of teams employ during the postseason:
“That’s just something we talked about,” Shanahan said. “None of us have a ton of experience, but we went through the analytics and talked to those guys. We decided it’d be better, we wanted the ball third.
“If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones with a chance to go win. We got that field goal, so we knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal. If we did, we thought it was in our hands after that.”
Unfortunately for Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers, the game didn’t pay out. They will spend the rest of the offseason thinking about what could have been if they made another decision during the final game of the season.
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