Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan’s Super Bowl message to 49ers: ‘Be the same man that you’ve been all season’

Feb 2, 2020 at 11:02 AM--

It's a cliche, but the Super Bowl is just like every other NFL game in the regular season.

Except it isn't.

The pressure of the league's championship contest is a thousand times more immense than at any point during the regular season or in the playoffs. An extra week of talk, interviews, chatter, rumors, speculation, media obligations and so on hype the game up for players, coaches and fans alike. And as someone who has been on the wrong end of a Super Bowl outcome, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan understands why it's important for his squad to maintain the same level of preparation and approach it held en route to a 13-3 finish, the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC and during Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Shanahan revealed what his final message was to his Niners players to ESPN's Jeff Darlington, simply saying, "Be the same man that you've been all season."

One can translate the head coach's statement into a number of ways, all meaning the same thing. "Do what you did that got you here." "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." That's the point.

In a way, San Francisco's own game play reflected Shanahan's coaching approach all season. A microcosm of this was during the 49ers' postseason wins over both the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the divisional and NFC Championship rounds, respectively. Shanahan's run-first offense was exactly that, as the team churned out a total of 471 combined rush yards in the two games.

By doing so, the Niners imposed their will on both the Vikings and Packers, also letting their top-tier defense shut down nearly everything both Minnesota and Green Bay attempted, too.

When the 49ers were at their best during the regular season, that was the formula. And that same approach continued throughout the playoffs.

Kansas City, equipped with a former MVP quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, is a different animal. While Shanahan and his coaching staff will ultimately adjust their game plans accordingly, it seems to be a stretch to suggest the Niners will alter what they did to get them to this point.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

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