49ers free to hire Kyle Shanahan following Falcons’ Super Bowl LI loss

Feb 5, 2017 at 7:26 PM--


The 2016 NFL season is officially complete. With Super Bowl LI now in the books, the Atlanta Falcons' season is also done following a 34-28 loss to the New England Patriots. For San Francisco 49ers fans, the wait in nearly over. Their team can now, at any point, officially hire Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to be the new head coach of the 49ers.

The 49ers have been without a head coach since the firing of Chip Kelly on January 1. The 49ers also officially announced the firing of general manager Trent Baalke on the same day. He was replaced by former NFL All-Pro safety and FOX analyst John Lynch.

Shanahan has been long expected to become the 49ers' new head coach and even had a big part in the hiring of Lynch as the new general manager. A phone call between Lynch and Shanahan following the Falcon's divisional victory over the Seattle Seahawks kicked off the interest in the analyst. Lynch was in the FOX broadcast booth for that game. Shanahan met with Lynch, and two other general manager candidates, in Atlanta on January 27 and 28 before the Falcons traveled to Houston for the Super Bowl.

"I get that it's new to him," said Shanahan this week in Houston. "But if I'm going to bet on anybody, I'm going to bet on John Lynch. He'll have to learn some stuff as he goes, just like we all do, but you're going for the person. John Lynch has succeeded in everything, and that excites me about him. The people who know him know how special of a guy the 49ers got."

According to one report, Lynch is expected to have final say on the 49ers' 90-man roster, including the draft and free agency, but Shanahan will have final say on who makes the team's 53-man roster.

Shanahan was a hot commodity following the 2016 season and also met with the Los Angeles Rams, who hired former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who promoted interim head coach Doug Marrone, and the Denver Broncos, who hired former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. One report had the Broncos seriously considering Shanahan before deciding to go with Joseph. Only the 49ers were willing to wait on Shanahan and his team's postseason run.

Shanahan has been with Atlanta since 2015 and has nine years of experience as an offensive coordinator. Prior to his two years with Atlanta, he 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 there.

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