The Super Bowl went into overtime for the second time in history on Sunday and it was the first time overtime was carried out under the revised rules that guarantee each team a chance to possess the ball, thus the decision for the team that won the draw had more intrigue than previously.
After winning the toss, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to receive rather than kickoff or defer and the team scored a field goal to open the extra period. The Chiefs then drove 72 yards before a Patrick Mahomes touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman made them 25-22 winners.
Shanahan explained after the game that he wanted the ball if the game went to sudden death on a third possession. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was asked about that call after the game and said he wasn’t sure there was a right way to play given the lack of history in this scenario, so he wouldn’t guess Shanahan’s call.
“It is the value of [statistical analysis coordinator] Mike Frazier,” Reid said. “He does a great job with it. There are two ways to do this. You can either throw it or receive it. I’m not sure there’s necessarily a right answer. Ours turned out to be the right one. It could easily have gone the other way. This is what we felt was the right thing to do. I will never question Kyle because he is brilliant. It’s just something we chose during our studies. We thought it was important.
Regardless of which side you choose after the toss, your team must do its job on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs did it, which is why they are celebrating a second straight Super Bowl title and the 49ers must once again try to put the pieces together.