It’s the day after the Super Bowl and time for a million overreactions to what we witnessed Sunday night. One piece of information that popped up following the 49ers Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, is that some of San Francisco’s players were not aware of the different playoff overtime rules. While players should do their part in knowing rules and regulations, Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff should be certain everyone is clear on overtime procedures.
“Multiple San Francisco players said after the game they were not aware that overtime rules are different in the playoffs.”
Losing to a great team is one thing, but falling in defeat due to lack of preparedness is one of the most egregious errors for a coaching staff. That falls in Shanahan’s lap. So, for those who already felt a certain way (especially negative) about coach Shanahan, this news will likely strengthen your argument.
While overtime rules in the NFL aren’t nearly as straightforward as they once were — and in the postseason they get even more convoluted — you still need to have your team ready on game day. That includes knowing what potential scenarios could come their way, especially in a playoff game, and that goes quadruple for Super Bowl Sunday. Shanahan is known as a meticulous coach who has been accused of “overthinking” at times and simply missing one tiny detail. Well, this wasn’t a tiny detail: Not knowing the overtime rules cost him a championship.
This brings to mind former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb not knowing an NFL game could end in 2008. They played the Bengals in Cincinnati to a 13-13 tie and following the contest, McNabb expressed that he didn’t know ties were in the rulebook.
“I didn’t know that,” said McNabb. “I’ve never been part of a tie. I never even knew it was in the rulebook. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately, with the rules, we settled with a tie.”
The NFL playoff overtime rules are much newer, but that’s still no excuse for Shanahan not having his team prepared for every possible outcome. Those details are what make the difference between a really good or great week-to-week coach and being one of the greatest of all time. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has ascended to that all-time great level over the past five years. For as good as Shanahan has been with San Francisco, he still has a long way to go before he’s even considered in that conversation.
That doesn’t mean Shanahan will never reach that level, but he’s on a worrying track. Reid lost his first Super Bowl as a head coach in Philly against the New England Patriots. Reid bounced back, but it took a while. He’s 3-1 in Super Bowls with Kansas City. So, Shanahan has time, although starting 0-2 in Super Bowl appearances is rough. It’s understandable why he didn’t stay for the 49ers’ postgame party and just said hello to Lil Wayne then exited stage left.