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49ers' Shanahan responds to ‘inaccurate' claim he can't win big game

49ers' Shanahan responds to ‘inaccurate' claim he can't win big game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — Kyle Shanahan has experienced playoff success, amassing an 8-4 record in four 49ers postseason appearances for a win percentage of .667.

It is inaccurate to declare his teams are incapable of winning big games. But it is a fact that he has yet to coach a team to a victory in the biggest game of them all.

“You’d love to fix perception because I would love to win one for what I know about football and stuff,” Shanahan said on Tuesday, on locker clear-out day at the team’s headquarters.

“And I know if I fix perception that means I did everything I wanted to do, which isn’t fixing perception, it’s winning a damn Super Bowl.”

Shanahan has experienced some agonizing losses deep in the 49ers’ playoff runs over the past five seasons.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Sunday night was just the latest painful chapter.

Four years ago, the 49ers led 20-10 in the fourth quarter before Kansas City scored 21 unanswered points, officially beginning the NFL reign of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.

“These two Super Bowls have been tough, losing to Kansas City,” Shanahan said. “But to think if we win that, that means I can win a big game? That means our team won the Super Bowl.”

After a 6-10 2020 NFL season, the 49ers lost in the NFC Championship Game in back-to-back years to the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles.

This season, the 49ers rallied for heart-pounding playoff victories over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to advance to the eighth Super Bowl in franchise history. Shanahan pointed out that a date to play in the final game of the season requires any team to win big games along the way.

“When you say ‘big games,’ we had to win a bunch of big games to get to Super Bowls,” Shanahan said. “We’ve won a lot of big games here. We won a lot of big games to get in the playoffs. The fact we keep getting there shows you guys how much we’ve won big games.”

Other coaches in NFL history have faced similar external criticism and skepticism about being able to win the big one. After all, Reid was in his 21st NFL season, including 15 playoff appearances, when he won his first Super Bowl in Feb. 2020.

“I hope I can be part of a team that wins the game at the end of the year,” Shanahan said. “But to say the Niners can’t win a big game would be an extremely inaccurate statement.”

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