History not in favor of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s Super Bowl aspirations

History not in favor of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s Super Bowl aspirations

There have been three head coaches in San Francisco 49ers chronicle to lead the franchise to multiple Super Bowls: Bill Walsh, George Siefert and Kyle Shanahan.

Unfortunately for Shanahan, he’s the only coach in that exclusive club to lose a Super Bowl and, more troubling, the only one to have never won one.

For all the success Shanahan’s 49ers have compiled, the Lombardi Trophy has been an unattainable triumph and unfortunately for the 44-year old, history is not his side, according to NFL Research.

Following the 49ers’ overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII, Shanahan became the fifth coach in NFL history to lose his first three Super Bowl appearances as a head coach or coordinator, per NFL Research. None of the previous four coaches ever won a Super Bowl.

Shanahan is in hallowed company in that regard, joining the Buffalo Bills’ Marv Levy, the Minnesota Vikings’ Bud Grant, Ted Marchibroda as an offensive coordinator with Washington and Buffalo, and longtime Vikings defensive coordinator Jerry Burns. Levy and Grant are Hall of Famers, while Marchibroda and Burns are highly regarded, but nevertheless they each fell short of Lombardi glory.

For Shanahan, it’s a past rife with big-game heartbreak that, as aforementioned, doesn’t bode well for the future.

In each of Shanahan’s Super Bowl defeats — Super Bowl LI as an offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons against the Patriots, and Super Bowls LIV and LVIII as the 49ers head coach against the Chiefs — his teams held 10-point leads prior to losing. In each losing endeavor, which includes the only two overtime games in Super Bowl chronicle, Shanahan’s offenses have struggled when it counted most, as evidenced by a combined nine offensive points in the fourth quarter.

For his career as a head coach, Shanahan is 8-4 in the playoffs, equating to a .667 winning percentage that stands as the highest in league history without winning an NFL Championship or Super Bowl, per NFL Research.

Since 2010, the 49ers have advanced to seven conference title games, the most in the NFC. However, they’re 3-4 in those seven games with zero Super Bowl victories to show for it. In that same timeframe, the Patriots and Chiefs are the only other teams to make six or more trips to the championship round, with each franchise claiming three Super Bowl crowns in that span.

Emerging as the NFL’s team of the 1980s, the 49ers won four Super Bowls in the decade and triumphed once more to go 5-0 across their first five Super Bowl appearances. However, the franchise has lost its last three Super Bowls.

Once again, the 49ers are Super Bowl contenders ahead of the 2024 season, locked and loaded with Pro Bowl talent on each side of the ball.

Will this be the season in which San Francisco returns to the top of the NFL mountain and Shanahan finally gets over the hump? Or has history already provided a glimpse into an unfortunate road ahead.


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