San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has an explanation for one of the most questionable decisions of his team’s 25-22 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.
When the game entered overtime, the coach opted to receive the ball first after the 49ers won the coin toss that allowed them the choice.
The postseason overtime rule changed in 2022.
Previously, the second team to get the ball wouldn’t be given a possession if the first team scored a touchdown.
Under the new rule, it would get the ball no matter what. That gives the team that gets the ball second a strategic advantage — one that the 49ers did not take.
Shanahan was asked about his decision during his postgame news conference.
“We wanted the ball third,” the coach said.
“If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win,” he said.
“We went through all the analytics,” Shanahan said.
Kyle Shanahan detailed why the 49ers took the ball after winning the coin toss in overtime.
“We wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win.” pic.twitter.com/MyuRRpGvTA
— KNBR (@KNBR) February 12, 2024
The 49ers were limited to a field goal on their first possession of overtime.
The Kansas City Chiefs went on to score a touchdown on their first OT drive to win the game.
THE CHIEFS ARE BACK-TO-BACK SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS! pic.twitter.com/ZzfhTyUXg9
— NFL (@NFL) February 12, 2024
Shanahan’s decision was hotly criticized by football analysts and fans.
Kyle Shanahan did exactly what college football fans know NOT to do in overtime under these types of rules, and it was their downfall.
— Nico (@elitetakes_) February 12, 2024
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) February 12, 2024
Kyle Shanahan taking criticism for taking the ball with the new playoff OT rules. He should. It was an indefensible strategic call, made worse by the fact it wasn’t communicated well with the rank and file, and it probably lost them the Super Bowl. Aside from that, no big deal…
— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) February 12, 2024
Kyle Shanahan’s brain before the OT coin toss pic.twitter.com/uGwbggZm7q
— Temu Salami (@Ferd_Turgeson) February 12, 2024
The fact that Kyle Shanahan said he spoke with his analytics team before the game and decided if it went to overtime they would take the ball first tells me he needs a new analytics team
— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) February 12, 2024
Many pointed out that possessing the ball second would have given the 49ers a drive in which they knew precisely what was required to either continue or win the game.
For example, they would have known what to do on fourth down on their drive.
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