Yahoo Sports’ Jason Fitz & Frank Schwab discuss if head coach Kyle Shanahan really cost the San Francisco 49ers a Super Bowl victory with his overtime decision? Or if people have overlooked an important fact about the new overtime rules for the playoffs. Hear the full conversation on “Sunday Night Blitz” - part of the “Zero Blitz” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.
JASON FITZ: Shanahan has been the coach or offensive coordinator for three different teams that blew double digit leads in the Super Bowl. The 28 to 3, the last Super Bowl for the 49ers, they had a double digit lead in the fourth quarter. And now they blow a double digit lead in the second half.
And a 10-point lead in the NFC Championship game two years ago against the Rams. This is a-- man, it's got to be-- it's going to be a long offseason for him and the 49ers. I just--
JASON FITZ: It's got to be more than just a long offseason. This is a bit of an indictment. Like, look, Kyle Shanahan I think was very good. At the end of the day, I thought his play calling was pretty aggressive for the most part.
FRANK SCHWAB: And, again, fluke stuff happens-- the punt, fumble, and the blocked extra point, which you're not going to see very often. That's not on Kyle Shanahan. But yet, yes, his resume is-- that's the first line of it, right, that all these blown leads.
JASON FITZ: So there's one thing about this game that came down to Kyle Shanahan that everyone's questioning. And that one thing was the decision at the beginning of overtime. In the Super Bowl, no matter what, both teams are going to get the opportunity to get the ball. After both teams have had that opportunity to score, then it goes to sudden death. So the 49ers won and they elected to take the ball first.
Several people out on social media and several smart minds have questioned this loudly under the concept of, if you get the ball second, you know what you have to do, right? So that's the mindset. But here's what I think everybody's wrong, Frank. I think you've got to think about who gets the ball third because in my mind--
FRANK SCHWAB: I totally agree.
JASON FITZ: --if you're San Francisco and you get the ball first, all right then, Kansas City goes in. Let's say that drive ends in a field goal instead of a touchdown, now you're in sudden death. What I want to make sure that no matter what, Patrick Mahomes doesn't get to touch the ball first in a sudden death situation. I would take the ball first 100 times out of 100, if it meant that I could ensure that Patrick Mahomes didn't get sudden death.
FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, after the game, I guess the Chiefs said they were going to defer. And I was blown away by this. I hadn't even-- and we're still getting used to these new overtime rules, which I hate, by the way. I guess the Chiefs were going to defer, but-- and that's the same situation, where, OK, you even it up. But then the other team gets the ball third, and they have an extra possession. Why would you give away an extra possession? That makes no sense to me.
So I don't even know why this is a debate. It's a little weird to me. The only caveat I'll say is, if the Chiefs plan all along is if they score a touchdown, we score a touchdown. We're going for two. OK, well then, you know what you need to do. But you're really going to risk a Super Bowl on that? And I don't think that they would do that anyway. I think they would just say, kick the extra point and get the ball back to 49ers for this sudden death possession.
JASON FITZ: I don't think for all the people that are questioning Shanahan, the thing that's hard about that is that for the rest of time, everyone's going to look at this, and there's going to be a subsection of people that turn this into a Kyle Shanahan made the wrong choice. I don't think he did.
FRANK SCHWAB: This was just-- he just lost a game to a great team, a great dynasty at this point. They are a dynasty now, right? So I don't-- I don't put this on Kyle. Yeah, he lost, but that happens. You're playing-- you're playing Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, somebody's got to lose.