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49ers bit by bizarre OT coin flip decision

LAS VEGAS — No one was quick to judge the 49ers’ decision after winning the overtime coin toss in the 2024 Super Bowl.

After winning the coin toss for the second tail call of the game, the 49ers elected to receive, even though NFL playoff overtime rules require both teams to touch the ball.

This differs from the regular season, where the game ends if the team receiving the kickoff scores a touchdown.

In overtime situations, it seems logical to start with the defense. Teams then know how many points they need to tie or win that turn.

And the strange decision stuck with the 49ers when the Chiefs converted a field goal for a touchdown and won 25-22.

CBS analyst Tony Romo said on the air that the only logical reason was that the 49ers’ 49ers’ defense after defending the length of the field and holding the Chiefs to a tying field goal in a two-minute drill with Patrick Mahomes. He theorized that the defense must have been tired.


Umpire Bill Vinovich tosses a coin before overtime as Fred Warner of the San Francisco 49ers and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs look on. Reuters

Other analysts also shared Romo’s thoughts on Twitter.

If 49ers head coach Kyle Shanhan were playing chess instead of checkers, he probably would have played chess instead of checkers, assuming that after one possession each the score would still be tied and he would have the advantage in sudden death. He might have thought ahead to getting the ball on the second possession.


Check out the Post’s latest coverage of the 2024 Super Bowl


The only other overtime in Super Bowl history was a game that ended on the first possession, when Tom Brady led a 25-point second-half comeback against the Patriots and Falcons, and James White scored his third touchdown of the game. The game ended in overtime.

Shanahan served as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator for that game.

This rule was changed after the famous back-and-forth playoff game between the Chiefs and Bills. That’s because quarterback Josh Allen left the field with 13 seconds left after throwing the go-ahead touchdown pass and never had a chance to touch the ball again.


49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan leaves the field after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl III.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan left the field after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2024 Super Bowl. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Mahomes set up a tying field goal late in regulation and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Travis Kelce to start overtime.

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