Kyle Shanahan thinks about Super Bowl LI a lot, and there's one play he keeps coming back to.
The former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator and head coach of the San Francisco 49ers went on the Rich Eisen Show and talked about the 25-point lead the Falcons blew to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
"Whenever you lose a game you think you could have won, that’s tough. There’s not many days that go by that I don’t think about it. I’m doing alright. I can handle it," Shanahan said.
He did admit there's one play he's been hung up on, and it wouldn't surprise Falcons fans which play.
"There’s no doubt. The 2nd-and-10 that we got sacked on, I wish we would have dialed something up differently," he said.
The play Shanahan is talking about was with about four minutes left in the game and the Falcons still holding on to an 8-point lead. After a Devonta Freeman run, Ryan was sacked on 2nd down for a loss of 11 yards. The Falcons were insisting on passing the ball instead of running the ball on New England's 23-yard line. Ryan got a pass off to Mohamed Sanu on the next play, but Jake Matthews was called for holding. That made it 3rd-and-33, pushing the Falcons out of field goal range. The Falcons punted, and the Patriots tied the game on the next possession. The rest is history.
Fans still criticize Shanahan for not running the ball on that drive. Some go as far to say that he is the reason the Falcons blew the Super Bowl.
But there were a lot of other mistakes before that, like the Matt Ryan strip sack, botched coverages on third and fourth downs. Oh, and Robert Alford's tipped pass that led to Julian Edelman's shoe catch, which was just a miracle for New England. There were a lot of other things. But if Shanahan had called a running play and the Falcons had kicked a field goal, it likely all wouldn't have mattered.
Shanahan also talked about the stress of preparing for the 49ers head coaching job during the NFL Playoffs. John Lynch, who would later be named the 49ers' general manager, called Shanahan the day before the NFC Championship and revealed he was interested in the gig. It came as a shock to Shanahan.
"I never knew he was interested," Shanahan said. "The best thing I’ve heard. I’m completely excited, but I’ve got to get ready for this game. After the Green Bay game Sunday night let’s think about that more," he remembered saying to his wife.
"I was kind of stressed going through the whole process, trying to get ready for a playoff game and all of that. I’m not really spending much time about the Niners."
Shanahan is settling in now. He said Brian Hoyer is the guy leading the 49ers' offense into the Shanahan era. Shanahan will install a similar offensive system like the one that he brought to the Falcons.