49ers’ Kyle Shanahan out to claim title after Super Bowl heartbreaks

LAS VEGAS — Yes, Kyle Shanahan knows his way around the Super Bowl.

He joined the club four years ago as a young head coach.

He was with the Falcons seven years ago as their featured offensive coordinator.

He estimates he has attended six other Super Bowls “as part of the family since I was a kid” to watch his father, Mike, who had an illustrious coaching career, perform in the big game. .

Kyle Shanahan entered the Super Bowl with an 0-1 record as head coach, as the 49ers lost to the Chiefs 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, Florida. He’s back on track, and this time he’s taking the Niners to Las Vegas for a Super Championship. In the 2024 bowl, wouldn’t you know it, we’ll be facing the Chiefs again.

“I was really happy with my preparation last time,” Shanahan said recently in Santa Clara, California. I’ve been paying attention to things all my life.

“You try to get as much as you can in the first week. Once you get out of there, we go through it again. But it’s different. Our Mondays are limited by media contracts. It’s completely different. Our routine is off because we have to do press conferences every day, which means we get about an hour off from our normal time. I mean, usually when we do Red Zone or something like that, You’re two hours late. You’re a little more tired. All of these things add up. If you put things off that week and think it’s going to be a normal week, by Thursday or Friday, you’re not so calm. You’ll feel like you’re not there.”

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers arrive in Las Vegas for the 2024 Super Bowl. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Yeah, Shanahan shouldn’t be blindsided by whatever happens this week leading to another opportunity to break into the exclusive club for Super Bowl-winning head coaches.

He said the team plans to have all of its game plans, offensive and defensive, before leaving home. He accomplished that four years ago, but he never won the Lombardi Trophy because Patrick Mahomes was better than Jimmy Garoppolo that day.

This time, Shanahan is Mr. Irrelevant, tasked with limiting his mistakes and, if not matching Mahomes’ play-for-play, at least giving the Niners a fighting chance and a championship in Shanahan’s seventh year. Bring in quarterback Brock Purdy. As an NFL head coach.

This is the final piece of the puzzle that completes the picture for the 44-year-old Shanahan.

He led a charge that led the Niners to wins in four of the last five NFC Championship games. His team overcame deficits of 14-0 and 24-7 to beat the Lions 34-31 in last week’s NFC title game. The final hurdle awaits his vault.

“There were a lot of good things, but the end goal, as I always say, is that only one team is happy at the end of the year,” Shanahan said. “We’re really proud of a lot of what we’ve accomplished here over the last five years or so. We want to continue to be that happy team. No matter what we accomplish. , it’s always disappointing not to win the Super Bowl.”

He knows he will be disappointed during this time.

Kyle Shanahan is looking for revenge in the Super Bowl. AP

He ran Atlanta’s offense to near perfection, building a massive 28-3 lead against the Patriots in the Super Bowl in Houston. Shanahan received a lot of criticism for being too aggressive during the second half of the game, when the Falcons infamously lost 34-28 in overtime, the largest lead in Super Bowl history.

Three years later, as head coach of the 49ers, Shanahan held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, but was unable to close the deal and lost to the Chiefs.

They suffered back-to-back losses in the NFC Championship Game, but the frustration subsided with this year’s return to the playoffs.

“Every year, going into every season, there’s always new things we have to work on to get better to accomplish what we’re trying to do here,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “That’s something he’s done a great job of every year and just continues to grow as a coach and a leader for us.”

Kyle Shanahan celebrates the 49ers’ NFC Championship win. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Based on their history of blowing leads against Shanahan’s 49ers and then playing strong games to lead them to victory, it was comfortable labeling them the “front-runners.”

Shanahan’s Niners are 0-38 when trailing by at least eight points in the fourth quarter. The fact that they were unable to make a major comeback this postseason hurt them. They won the game against the Lions, and a week before that they played against the Packers, trailing 21-14 at the end of the third quarter, but coming away with a 24-21 victory.

“I think if you’re not hard on yourself, it’s kind of hard to put in the work and the things that it takes to coach in the NFL,” Shanahan said. “I think most of us are pretty hard on ourselves. We’re kind of perfectionists because we know how difficult it is for anyone to win a match. I mean, we’re kind of hard on ourselves. Just as you ask for more, you ask more of everyone. There is a fine line between winning and losing, so you question everything and every moment, and it always starts with yourself.”