In the days leading up to Super Bowl LVIII, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said he wasn't interested in other people’s narratives regarding his inability to win the big game in reference to a question about giving up leads in previous Super Bowl losses.
Those narratives will be revived coming out of Sunday's 25-22 overtime loss to the Chiefs in Las Vegas. The 49ers led by 10 points in the first half and held leads in the fourth quarter and overtime, but they weren't able to close things out for a win.
In his postgame press conference, Shanahan was asked if there was a different tone compared to the 49ers' previous loss to the Chiefs or his loss to the Patriots while serving as the offensive coordinator of the 49ers.
“There's nothing different to say, I mean I don't care how you lose when you lose Super Bowls, especially ones you think you can pull off, it hurts," Shanahan said. "When you're in the NFL, I think every team should hurt, except for one at the end. We've gotten pretty damn close, but we haven't pulled it off. We're hurting right now, but it doesn't take away from how proud of our guys I am. I'm really proud of them today, too. As part of sports, as part of football, as part of life, as part of life. I'm glad we put ourselves out there. I love our team. We'll recover, and we'll be back next year strong."
There were stretches of the 2023 season when the 49ers looked like the best team in the league and there's a strong foundation to build on for 2024, but the question of whether they can finish will loom over everything and anything short of it will lead to more questions about whether Shanahan can get the team all the way to where it wants to go.