49ers Hire Kyle Shanahan As Head Coach

After weeks of waiting for Atlanta’s season to end, the 49ers have finally named now-former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as their 20th head coach. Shanahan, 37, will join new general manager John Lynch in receiving a six-year contract to help turn around the 49ers, who went 2-14 in 2016 and are set to pick second in this spring’s draft.

Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan was among eight candidates the 49ers interviewed in January to succeed the fired Chip Kelly, and he became the runaway favorite for the job three weeks ago. His emergence as a shoo-in came after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable withdrew from consideration.

Monday was the first day the 49ers could officially hire Shanahan, whose prolific offense led the Falcons to an 11-5, NFC South-winning regular-season mark, two playoff victories and a berth in Sunday’s Super Bowl. The Falcons collapsed on the sport’s biggest stage, though, as they blew a 28-3 second-half lead en route to a 34-28 overtime loss to McDaniels’ Patriots. Shanahan’s aggressive decisions in the fourth quarter, when the Falcons seemingly had a victory all but locked up, have since come under fire.

Despite his gaffes in Super Bowl LI, Shanahan is unquestionably among the NFL’s brightest offensive minds and is now parlaying his five-year career as a coordinator with the Texans, Redskins, Browns and Falcons into a head coaching position. Shanahan will have more responsibility than most neophytes, as he’ll have final say over the 49ers’ 53-man roster. His most important roster-related task this offseason will be helping the 49ers find a quarterback to replace Colin Kaepernick, whose tenure with the team is set to conclude.

Shanahan has long been a fan of Redskins standout Kirk Cousins, having coached him in Washington, and could pursue him either via trade or free agency in the coming months. Otherwise, Shanahan’s Plan B is reportedly Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who’s a trade candidate. If he and Lynch aren’t able to nab either of those two, they could turn to a veteran stopgap like Falcons reserve Matt Schaub and search for a younger option to become the franchise’s long-term solution.

The 49ers will have the means to make upgrades under center and elsewhere this offseason, as they lead the NFC in cap space (upward of $80MM, including the soon-to-be gone Kaepernick) and possess three of the draft’s first 66 picks. In the meantime, Shanahan will get to work on assembling a coaching staff. Given that all other newly named head coaches landed their positions well before Shanahan, he could be at a disadvantage in finding assistants.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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33 comments on “49ers Hire Kyle Shanahan As Head Coach

    • Thronson5

      Everyone in this industry has a bad drive, a bad quarter, a bad half of s game or even a bad game. Not sure you can call him a choke artist when he helped take them to the Super Bowl, lost in OT and won assistant if the year award. One game doesn’t shape someone’s career. Maybe it does to people like you out there in la la land that love to talk smack in the internet but the fact is he isn’t a choke artist. A lot played into that loss. Matt Ryan has the right to audible a play at the line of scrimmage, Freeman missed a block, they called holding on the Falcons when everyone could clearly see the Patriots had a Falcons player by the face mask. I could go on and on but I won’t. This doesn’t fall on player, one coach, one play or one coordinator..it was a team effort to lose that game and a lot of things went the Patriots way!

      • Manny6

        Not scoring at all to secure the game is pretty pathetic being up 28-3..go hawks!

        • Dretorade

          go hawks????? how’s it going on that Seattle bandwagon? They don’t own any actual fans just bandwagoneers

      • qbass187

        I disagree. 1 game CAN shape someone’s career. Especially when that game is the greatest comeback in NFL

        • Thronson5

          Well I disagree with you saying one game can shape someone’s career. I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. Maybe it shapes it for people on social media and on the internet but in the real world that doesn’t mean he sucks or is a choke artist. He is a damn good offensive coordinator and will be a good coach as well. His play calling didn’t lose the game. His team couldn’t stop the pats on defense and the pats got really aggressive on defense and the Falcons players couldn’t get it done. There were passes that hit guys in the hands and they weren’t caught. So is that his fault? Is it his fault freeman didn’t make a block that lead to a sack and a fumble and eventually points for the pats? I don’t think so. Is it his fault that the Falcons defense committed penalty after penalty after penalty to put the pats in scoring position? I don’t think so. This game is not on one mans shoulders. It’s on the whole teams. I know that everyone on the internet thinks they knows everything, they think they are the best coaches, the best general managers and can also make better plays than the players that are out there doing it for a living but that’s not the case so give the guy some slack because that loss was not his fault and it wasn’t any one players fault either. It was the entire team that melted down and handed the game over. Bad play calling on a drive or two doesn’t lose you a game that you are leading 21-3 at the half.

      • JT19

        If I’m thinking of the right play, that facemask penalty could’ve gone both ways. Might be thinking of the wrong one but I do remember a facemask call going uncalled against the Patriots defense, but that same play could’ve resulted in a facemask for the Falcons as well (the defensive player had his helmet ripped off as the play ended).

      • Manny6

        Nobody said he ran the defense..but he could have stopped the greatest comeback in super bowl history by controlling the OFFENSE better. Letting a team come back from 28-3 and not having any offensive answers to seal the game is pathetic

        • victor

          it looked to me like just a complete meltdown …the only part of the falcons that was on point was the d line they got to brady all night …

    • Rick

      No nobody wants a job in the best place to live in the Country with one of the best franchises in NFL history. Why would anyone want that job.

      • Rick

        What do the Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, 49ers have in common, they are all the best franchises in NFL History. Would someone want to live and play during the winter in Boston or Pittsburgh not me and would you want to coach under Jerry Jones Uh NO. If you look at it like that the 49ers job doesn’t seem so bad. Yes roster is not there right now but they had the best roster in Football a few years back and things can change quickly. As long as York lets Lynch and the others make the call and stays out of it.

        • JT19

          What do the Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys all have in common that the 49ers don’t? A team that is not only poised to be successful now, but also for the next few years. Barring a trade for a QB (or a magical find in the draft) the 49ers are at least two years from even being a serious competitor.

  1. Keath

    So… the 49ers are hiring a guy who didn’t run the ball at all with a 25-point lead in the most important game of his life, with maybe the best RB duo in the entire league to boot. Mmkay.

  2. Jeremy

    Super bowl aside since he played one of the best teams in NFL history. You think Brady was going to go down easy. Running the ball or not Brady wouldn’t have gone with out a fight. Either way dude a bright OC who done alot for ATL. Went from a avg playoff team too a super bowl level team. One game not going to change how I feel about him.

  3. Sean

    Excited it finally happened welcome to the team kyle now let’s get this team back up and running again

  4. I wish you would stop saying HC candidates “dropped out” of running for 9ers HC job. Fact is, Jed York chose Shanahan several weeks ago & when other candidates knew they were rejected, they “dropped out”.

    • Rick

      Exactly, I wouldn’t have wanted any of the other coaches hired before him so, what did they lose and Josh McDaniels isn’t someone I would want to take a chance on. Do people really change their personalities. Not usually.

  5. Num1PatsFan4Lyfe

    Yeah because the Patriots assistants didn’t want the job. Our kicking coach is probably better.

    • James Holiday

      you don’t have a kicking coach. your not team owner. some fans are idiots

      • Num1PatsFan4Lyfe

        Your the idiot what team do you like? Falcons? Steelers? Texans? You all felt the wreath of Boston. GOATS

    • James Holiday

      you don’t have a kicking coach. your not team owner. some fans think it’s their team ECT. gets life

    • Rick

      McDaniel will never be a top head coach and the Patriots win because of Brady, no Brady and Belechik may or may not even have 1 Super Bowl.

  6. jmgara

    Those who want to blame Shanahan for losing the Super Bowl conveniently forgot that the Falcons wouldn’t be there without him, the Falcon defense couldn’t stop the Pats in the second half as they did in the first, and NE had to be perfect in getting two TDs and two 2 pointers. Plus they were lucky in getting the OT coin flip.

    Nine times out of ten (at least) the Falcons would have won in the same situation. So blaming Shanahan and criticizing the Niners for hiring him is stupid.

  7. 49er J

    Shanahan had a learning moment in the Super Bowl. But I won’t blame him. Dan Quinn is the Head Coach and he can advise his coach to choose a running play to use up clock.

  8. Wesarnold

    Exactly greatest comeback! Why isn’t anyone blaming Quinn or the defense giving up 25 points in the second half? Yeah he should have ran more but he was trying to win. I want a confident coach someone who’s always trying to score. Something the miners have been lacking for years

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