One of the biggest talking points in the aftermath of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII was Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan’s decision to. Shanahan explained his decision Sunday night, saying he and the rest of the Niners coaching staff talked about it and decided it would be beneficial to take the ball first because, in the event of a tie, after the first training session for each team. Of the extra period, the Niners would be the first team to get the ball back in sudden death.
Of course, we know things didn’t turn out that way. San Francisco drove down the field and kicked a field goal to take a three-point lead, then Kansas City came right back and scored the game-winning touchdown, with Patrick Mahomes finding Mecole Hardman wide open in the flat for the deciding score.
But here’s the other thing: Even if the Niners had scored a touchdown on their first drive, they weren’t going to get the ball back in a sudden death situation. According to Mahomes, if San Francisco opened overtime with a touchdown and Kansas City scored one of its own, the Chiefs planned to make it two to try to win the game outright.
“I don’t know if Coach Reid wants me to tell everyone, but we would have gone with two, for sure,” he said on SportsCenter.
This echoes what Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones said after the game. “We talked about it for two weeks,” Jones said. “How we were going to give the ball to the opponent; if they scored, we were aiming for a double at the end of the match. We rehearsed it.”
The 49ers have apparently not spoken about their plan, as several players have appearedafter the game, the new playoff overtime rules. Clearly, the Chiefs were better prepared for the situation, and they also had an answer to San Francisco’s strategic gamble of getting the ball first, had things gone the way the Niners envisioned.