Kyle Shanahan has no regrets about his playcalling and game management after the 49ers blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV.
The 49ers coach, who was on the losing end of the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history three years ago, has taken heat outside the organization since Sunday. He, though, has not done much second-guessing.
“I don’t feel it’s intense blowback,” Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN. “I’m not on Twitter or whatever all that stuff is, but I would never do that to myself anyway. I’ve lost a Super Bowl before and I’ve been a part of a bigger lead that was lost, so I’m very well aware of what goes with that. But I’m also not a good liar. How you guys hear me talk is exactly how I feel. I’m real upset about the loss because it’s hard to get there.
“I personally thought we had the best team in the NFL this year. And we weren’t, and we’ve got to deal with that. But I’m sure we believe we had that and we should have proved that and we didn’t get that done. And that’s what’s really cool about sports, that’s what hurts about sports, that’s what’s fun about sports. It’s why I love sports and it’s also why everyone likes watching it, because there is a lot of emotion in there and when I do feel this way and stuff, I mean it, it makes me feel stronger because it does hurt a lot. But I also know how much I can deal with it. And if that’s the worst stuff that happens, I can’t wait to try our butts off to get back there next year.”
Shanahan didn’t call timeout with around 1:30 to play in the first half after the 49ers stopped Damien Williams on third down to force a Kansas City punt. General Manager John Lynch was shown in the suite signaling for a timeout as the clock ran down to 59 seconds before the Chiefs punted.
Shanahan said his fear was punter Dustin Colquitt would pin the 49ers inside the 5-yard line, allowing the Chiefs a chance to use their timeouts and score before the half. The 49ers and Chiefs were tied 10-10 at halftime.
It begs the question of whether you can play a Super Bowl scared of what might happen.
Then again, Shanahan was criticized for being too aggressive when he was offensive coordinator of the Falcons against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
When decisions work, coaches are deemed geniuses and given extensions; when they don’t, coaches are second-guessed, and usually, eventually fired.
Shanahan said he wouldn’t take a mulligan on any of his play calls, but, in hindsight, he wished he had called timeout before the fourth-down play with 1:33 to play. Jimmy Garoppolo was sacked, and the Chiefs put the icing on the Lombardi Trophy two plays later on Williams’ touchdown run.