Kyle Shanahan is one of the NFL’s greatest coaching talents and offensive geniuses. Assistant coaches become the next head coach hopes under his wing. His San Francisco 49ers are now chasing the Super Bowl. There, however, the biggest flaw in Shanhan’s career is always revealed.
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In the NFL, the search for a coach is currently in full swing. When describing the hot candidates, the coaching tree is often mentioned. The family tree, which has shaped the respective coach in his career so far, says a lot about the philosophy and approach. With no one can this be shown so clearly as with Kyle Shanahan, who was practically born with coaching.
The legacy of Shanahan, who is about to make it back to the Super Bowl with his San Francisco 49ers and also has to knock out the Philadelphia Eagles, weighs on his shoulders. From birth, his path seemed almost predetermined.
Kyle was born on December 14, 1979 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, the now 43-year-old will grow up immediately where Mike Shanahan signs on next. Father Mike is a thoroughbred trainer. At the age of 23 he was with the Oklahoma Sooners for the first time as an assistant on the sidelines. From there follows the usual life of an inexperienced coach pushed into a new career early on by injuries. Mike moves to a new job almost every year and gradually climbs the ladder of collegiate teams.
Shortly after the birth of their son Kyle, the family moved again, this time to Florida. There Mike is finally in a responsible position for four years as offensive coordinator and can present himself for the NFL. In 1984, the Denver Broncos got him his first professional league job. Just four years later he became head coach for the Los Angeles Raiders for the first time.
However, Kyle’s father didn’t really break through until the age of 43, when he returned to the sidelines as head coach with the Broncos and a short time later won two Super Bowls with quarterback John Elway. His last stop with the Washington Redskins was also decisive for his son’s career.
Kyle Shanahan first tries his hand at wide receiver and actually gets a scholarship from the Texas Longhorns. However, in his unremarkable college career, “Shany” only catches 14 balls for 127 yards. But while others met in the weight room or at parties in the evenings, Kyle sketched plays and, by his own admission, tries to find answers to any problem a player might encounter on the field.
Immediately following his playing career, Kyle signed on as an assistant coach at UCLA. A year later it goes to the NFL. The fact that he has to wait far less than his father for his first opportunity also shows that the Shanahan name has certainly opened a door to the pros here. Under Jon Gruden in Tampa and later Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans, Kyle worked his way up to the offensive coordinator job.
He does it so well that his father brought him to Washington in 2010. In the capital, Kyle forms his own coaching team for the offense, which in retrospect reads a lot more well-known than it seemed at the time.
The offensive coordinator is then 31-year-old Kyle Shanahan. Matt LaFleur is the same age and coaches the quarterbacks. Today he is the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Incidentally, the offensive assistant is a nondescript 25-year-old young man. Sean McVay becomes Kyle’s right-hand man, later succeeds his then-boss as offensive coordinator for the Redskins and even wins the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams ahead of him.
This is the biggest flaw in Kyle Shanahan’s career: the really big games were lost under his responsibility. He was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. In the meantime, the team led 28-3 against the New England Patriots, in the end Tom Brady lifted the trophy again. As head coach, he also led the 49ers 2020 in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs by a clear 20-10, and the opponents cheered at the end. In both games, Shanahan’s offense inexplicably collapsed.
Now he tries the next approach with the Niners. His coaching team around him is once again in a first-class position. Shanahan has always had a keen eye for talented coaches. From the moment he started as head coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, he always relied on his excellent contacts in the coaching scene and took first-class up-and-coming coaches under his wing. Apparently he learned from the difficult path of his father, who had to wait a long time for a chance, and now wants to make it easier for other companions.
And he has a good eye for who should be promoted. His offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel is now head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh at the helm of the New York Jets. DeMeco Ryans climbs the ladder at the Niners behind Saleh, succeeds the climber after he left for the Jets and is now receiving interview calls from several NFL teams on a new head coach search. With Bobby Slowik, currently offensive coordinator, it is definitely only a matter of time before the professional league is interested in the 35-year-old as head coach candidate.
In five years, Kyle Shanahan has created an environment for the West Coast 49ers that produces good coaches and develops great players. With elite talent already in college, like Nick Bosa, the path was certainly predetermined. But Shanahan relies on other Pro Bowlers this season in the NFC Championship Game.
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Safety Talanoa Hufanga and tight end George Kittle were selected in the fifth round of their respective drafts. Linebacker Fred Warner at least in round three. Many other players have thrived under the tutelage of Shanahan, who knows full well that the key to this is not just his work, but that of the entire staff.
Kyle doesn’t shy away from giving young and supposedly inexperienced coaches a chance. Daniel Bullocks became the Niners’ coach at 36 safeties. DeMeco Ryans got his first job when he took office at age 33. Wes Welker came to San Francisco at age 38. All three have played in the NFL. Ryans and Welker even at the absolute top level.
Shanahan was a beneficiary of his coaching pedigree. His last name helped launch a career in the NFL himself early on. Now the successful coach uses his influence and enables other up-and-coming newcomers to get a chance at coaching. The NFC Championship Game against the Eagles is firmly in view. Because the football coach is missing a Super Bowl to finally catch up with other greats in this league.
The original to this article “Kyle Shanahan: The shadow on the career of the greatest offensive genius in the NFL” comes from touchdown24.de.