Following the Super Bowl on Sunday, players from the San Francisco 49ers openly acknowledged their lack of awareness regarding the overtime rules, a realization that may have extended to their head coach as well.
In the thrilling overtime showdown at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., the Kansas City Chiefs clinched a 25-22 victory over the 49ers. In a post-game interview, CBS reporter Evan Washburn queried Coach Shanahan about potential strategic adjustments he could have made during the closing moments of the game.
Shanahan’s response, “I mean, love to score a touchdown there at the end and not give Pat another chance,” indicates a possible misunderstanding of the overtime regulations. This statement appears to reflect Shanahan’s familiarity with the regular-season overtime rules, wherein a touchdown by the receiving team immediately ends the game.
However, the NFL introduced a revised rule ahead of the 2022 season specifically for playoff games, ensuring both teams receive possession during overtime unless the receiving team recovers an onside kick and scores. Shanahan’s reference to denying Mahomes another chance suggests he might have been unaware of this playoff overtime rule amendment.
While Shanahan could argue he was referring to regulation time when expressing his desire to score a touchdown and prevent Mahomes from another opportunity, this explanation lacks coherence. Notably, the 49ers secured a field goal with 1:53 remaining in regulation, granting the Chiefs another offensive possession. Even if the Niners had exhausted the clock, they still had the opportunity to kick a field goal for the win.
Considering Shanahan’s remarks about denying Mahomes another chance and the admission by 49ers players regarding their ignorance of overtime rules, it’s reasonable to surmise that Shanahan might have been similarly uninformed about the regulations.
If indeed Shanahan was unaware of the 2022 rule modification, this casts a different light on his decision to receive at the start of overtime, providing a new perspective on his rationale.