Fifteen years after former 49ers coach Mike Nolan struggled with the NFL for the periodic ability to wear a suit on the sidelines, current 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is grappling with the league over the hat he’ll wear (or not wear) during games during the 2022 season.
In a recent appearance on KNBR (via SFGate.com), Shanahan complained about rules limiting his potential hat selections.
“I have such beef with them right now,” Shanahan said, without specifically identifying the “them” to whom he was referring. “It’s a tough issue going on. They won’t let me pick out my own one. They won’t let me wear any one that’s from a [previous] year, so I can’t wear like an older one. I’ve got to wear the new ones that they give this year. Unfortunately, there’s none I like wearing. So hopefully, we can figure it out or wait ’til Salute to Service.”
He elaborated, but not by much, on the basis for his beef.
“It’s just deals,” Shanahan said. “I don’t want to go too hard and get fined or anything but trust me, trust me, I’m upset about it.”
He’s clearly talking about the league, and the rules developed jointly by the NFL and its exclusive hat sponsor, New Era.
There’s surely a win-win rattling around in this one somewhere. Shanahan works directly with New Era, which develops a special hat for him — and which then can use the news coverage of it as a launching point for an effort to sell the officially-licensed Kyle Shanahan hat.
Regardless, all coaches must comply with the terms of the deals the league has done. It’s why coaches no longer wear suits. It’s why they only wear the things that the NFL makes available for fans to buy.