Thursday, February 29, 2024

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan experiences 3rd Super Bowl heartbreak

LAS VEGAS — Coach Kyle Shanahan’s third trip to the Super Bowl ended like his first two — a major disappointment after another blown late lead.

The San Francisco 49ers coach has developed an offense that teams around the league are trying to emulate and has an extensive coaching tree that makes him one of the most influential figures in the game at the age 44 years old.

He just doesn’t have a Super Bowl title after San Francisco blew two late leads and lost 25-22 in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl Sunday.

That followed Shanahan’s 10-point 49ers lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl four years ago against Kansas City and an even bigger collapse in the 2016 season when he was offensive coordinator. The Falcons gave up 25 points in that game and lost 34-28 in overtime to New England.

The latter might be the toughest to take since the 49ers had the best team in the league for most of the season and looked poised to give Shanahan his first championship.

But the Niners squandered a 10-point lead in the first half, then couldn’t hold two three-point leads late, making Shanahan the first head coach to blow two double-digit leads in the Super Bowl.

His 49ers also blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of the 2021 NFC title game against the Rams, tying him for the most lost double-digit lead by a coach in NFL history.

Mahomes scored a game-tying field goal in the final 1:53 of regulation, then a game-winning TD pass to Mecole Hardman in overtime after Shanahan chose to take the ball first in the extra session.

The Niners were only able to manage a field goal from Jake Moody when Chris Jones forced Brock Purdy to throw an incomplete pass on third-and-4 from the 9.
San Francisco’s defense then couldn’t find a stop on Mahomes, allowing him to convert both a fourth and third down with his legs.
Mahomes then sent the Niners home with a loss when he found Mecole Hardman wide open after faking the moving formation and reversing the field.

Mahomes and the Chiefs have now handed Shanahan’s 49ers two Super Bowl losses in the last five seasons as the dynastic franchise of the 1980s and ’90s has now gone 29 straight seasons without winning a title.
Shanahan now must hope to follow in the path of his father, Mike, who lost his first three trips to the Super Bowl – all as an assistant in Denver – before winning one as coordinator of the 49ers during the 1994 season and back-to-back titles for the Broncos in 1997-98.

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