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Super Bowl LVIII: Shanahan defends 49ers’ overtime call

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has defended the team’s much-debated decision to take possession at the start of overtime in their gut-wrenching defeat at Super Bowl LVIII.

The Kansas City Chiefs made it back-to-back Super Bowl successes with a dramatic 25-22 comeback victory in Las Vegas on Sunday, with Patrick Mahomes finding Mecole Hardman Jr for the game-winning touchdown in the additional period.

That score came after the 49ers were forced to settle for a 27-yard Jake Moody field goal on the first drive of overtime, having opted to receive the kick-off when winning the toss.

Read the rest of our Super Bowl LVIII reaction here:
49ers unaware of overtime rules in last-gasp defeat to Chiefs
Forlorn Shanahan admits Niners are hurting after Chiefs defeat
Reid and Kelce play down touchline spat

New overtime regulations introduced in 2022 stipulate that both teams have a chance to possess the ball if postseason games go the distance, whereas a touchdown on the first drive of overtime in the regular season wins the game.

After the loss, 49ers stars Kyle Juszczyk and Arik Armstead both claimed to have been unaware of the new rules governing overtime in the playoffs.

With that rule change in mind, many believe the 49ers made the wrong call by failing to give the ball to the Chiefs, which would have left them certain of what was required on their own possession.

However, Shanahan says his decision was backed up by the data, noting that a level scoreline after one possession for each team would have created a next-score-wins scenario.

“We went through all the analytics,” Shanahan said. “We wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had a chance to go and win.

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

While Chiefs coach Andy Reid says his team had always planned on kicking the ball away in overtime, he does not believe there is a consensus among coaches on the best approach.

“He’s a pretty smart guy, so there’s got to be a reason why he did that,” Reid said of Shanahan’s call.

“Everybody’s got their own philosophy on it, and I get it. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong way, but we felt you kick off first.”

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