Kyle Shanahan Defends Controversial Super Bowl Overtime Decision

February 13, 2024
1 min read
selective focus photography of brown football on grass at daytime

Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers elected to receive the opening kick after winning the overtime coin toss in Sunday’s Super Bowl 58 contest.

That decision wouldn’t have caused any controversy in previous years, but a change to postseason overtime rules starting this year made this choice a highly-debated issue.

Under the new rules, the Chiefs would’ve been given a possession to respond even if the 49ers had scored a touchdown on their opening drive. After San Francisco kicked a field goal on their opening possession, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs knew exactly what they needed to win or extend the game.

Shanahan defended his decision after the Niners’ Super Bowl loss.

“It’s just something we talked about,” Shanahan said, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. “None of us have a ton of experience with it. But we went through all the analytics and talked to those guys. We just thought it would be better. We wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win. Got that field goal, so knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal, and if we did, then we thought it was in our hands after that.”

After the game, multiple 49ers players said they weren’t even aware of the overtime rule change.

“I didn’t even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me,” DL Arik Armstead said. “I didn’t even really know what was going on in terms of that.”

“You know what? I didn’t even realize the playoff rules were different in overtime,” full back Kyle Juszczyk added. “I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win.

“I guess that’s not the case. I don’t totally know the strategy there. We hadn’t talked about it, no.”

On the other side, multiple Chiefs players said they had strategy meetings with coaches to prepare for the new playoff overtime rules.

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