Coin toss call cost 49ers the Super Bowl


No one could make heads or tails of the San Francisco 49ers’ decision after winning the overtime coin toss in Super Bowl LVIII.

The NY Post reports 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan made the controversial decision to begin overtime on offence despite the new NFL playoff rules that make sure both teams get at least one possession.

Sure enough, after the 49ers kicked a tiebreaking field goal, the Kansas City Chiefs answered with a walk-off touchdown to steal a 25-22 victory at Allegiant Stadium.

UFC 298: VOLKANOVSKI VS TOPURIA | SUN 18 FEB | Order Now with Main Event on Kayo Sports. Main Event on Kayo Sports and Foxtel is the new exclusive home of UFC Pay-Per-View events!

Shanahan explained he was thinking several moves ahead after the winning coin toss, conscious of his team’s fatigue and looking toward a potential third overtime possession when the game becomes sudden death.

“None of us have a ton of experience with it,” Shanahan said.

“We went through all the analytics and talked to those guys. We decided it would be better getting the ball because if both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones to have a chance to go win it.”

NFL regular-season overtime rules only allow both teams a possession if the first team does not score a touchdown, so coin-toss winners almost always choose to receive the kick-off for the chance to end the game.

The 49ers chose to begin overtime on offence. Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP.Source: AFP

But the overtime rules are closer to the college football model, where the reward for playing defence first is knowing exactly how many points your team needs on the second possession to tie or win the game.

“We got that field goal. We knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal,” Shanahan said. “If we did, we thought it was in our hands after that.”

Andy Reid said that the Chiefs’ plan was to kick off if they won the coin toss.

“I’m not sure there’s a right answer,” Reid said. “I’m never going to question Kyle.”

Several 49ers admitted to not even being aware of the new overtime rules, which were put in place after an epic back-and-forth playoff game during the 2021 season, when the Bills’ Josh Allen threw a go-ahead touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and never touched the ball again.

Just like he broke the 49ers’ hearts Sunday, Mahomes broke the Bills’ hearts by driving for a field goal in regulation and a touchdown on the only possession of overtime.

49ers players didn’t know the rules of overtime in Super Bowls. Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP.Source: AFP

CBS analyst Tony Romo and several others on social media theorised live that the 49ers’ defence must have been tired after defending the length of the field against Mahomes in the two-minute drill at the end of regulation.

“I didn’t even know about the new playoff overtime rules,” 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead said.

“It was a surprise to me. I didn’t even know what was going on with it. They put it on the scoreboard and everyone was like, ‘Even if we score, they get a chance’ ”

49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk said: “I assumed you just want the ball because you score a touchdown and win.

“I guess that’s not the case. I don’t really know the strategy.”

In stark contrast, Kansas City’s Drue Transquill said: “We had an OT rules presentation and strategy meeting every week of the playoffs and twice in our SB prep.”

The Chiefs showed why they are the champs. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP.Source: AFP

Chiefs defensive linesman Chris Jones told The Ringer: “We talked through this for two weeks.

“How we was going to give the ball to the opponent; if they scored, we was going for two at the end of the game. We rehearsed it.”

The only other overtime game in Super Bowl history ended on the first possession, when Tom Brady engineered a 25-point second-half comeback for the Patriots against the Falcons to end the 2016 season.

Shanahan was the offensive co-ordinator for the Falcons in that game.

NFL analyst Dan Graziano wrote for ESPN: “The general thinking: Why wouldn’t you want the other team to get the ball first, so that you know what you must do once you have possession?

“But the 49ers won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. Coach Kyle Shanahan explained later that he wanted to have the ball third, because that’s when things become sudden death in this new format. His logic assumed each team would score the same number of points on the first possessions.

“But this, of course, did not turn out to be the case, as the Niners kicked a field goal, and the Chiefs scored a touchdown to end the game.

“Had the Chiefs had the ball first and scored a touchdown, Shanahan would have known his team also needed one to keep the game going.”

This article originally appeared in the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.


Source link

Leave a comment