AP photo

AP photo



The Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. For the 49ers, that means that they will have to wait until Friday to meet with the man that is very likely to become the team's next head coach – Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported on Sunday that the 49ers would have to wait to meet with Shanahan because the early part of the week would be devoted to planning for the Super Bowl. The 49ers' window to meet with Shanahan will close on Sunday, January 29 and the team will have to travel to Atlanta to do so.

Per league rules, the 49ers can meet with Shanahan despite the Falcons still being in postseason contention because the team will enjoy a bye week prior to Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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Shanahan is the last man standing among the 49ers' potential head coach candidates to replace Chip Kelly, who was fired following the team's finale on January 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. However, many believe that Shanahan may have been the best candidate to begin with. While the 49ers cannot make the hiring official until the Falcons have finished with their playoff run, NFL Network reported that Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn already announced to his staff that Shanahan would be taking the job. The earliest that the 49ers can make the hire now is following the Super Bowl.

The 49ers had hoped to have Shanahan meet with potential general manager candidates in order to find someone that the coordinator would work well with. Right now, Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton is the reported frontrunner for the job with Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough remaining in play.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Sunday that, should one of the two known candidates not hit it off with Shanahan, the team would be willing to reopen their search for a general manager. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that other candidates might include former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik and former Cleveland Browns general manager and vice president of player personnel Mike Lombardi. Dominik was the Buccaneers' director of pro scouting when Shanahan was an assistant in Tampa Bay. Lombardi, who was also an analyst for FOX Sports and NFL Network, was with the Browns when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator there in 2014.

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Shanahan has only been with the Falcons for two seasons and has already helped guide the team to a Super Bowl – their second in franchise history. Prior to his time in Atlanta, Shanahan held the same position with the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, and Houston Texans. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington at the same time that his father, Mike Shanahan, was the head coach. The elder Shanahan is not expected to join the 49ers in an official capacity, per Michael Silver of NFL Network, as some speculated might happen.

"I'm told that will not happen in a formal role," Silver said on Sunday. "However, owner Jed York views that as a huge positive, that Kyle Shanahan has such a decorated father that he can lean upon for advice as he eases into the head coaching job. And even though Kyle Shanahan is relatively young, he is a nine-year coordinator in this league who has a record of success, which ultimately tipped the scales in his favor."

Under Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons offense was ranked first in scoring, second in total yards, third in passing yards, and fifth in rushing yards during the regular season.