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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle on offensive pass-interference call in Super Bowl: ‘I’ve gotta live with it. It’s what it is’

Feb 2, 2020 at 9:07 PM--

Super Bowl LIV created plenty of "what if?" moments for the San Francisco 49ers, who ultimately fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 31-20 after squandering a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

A potentially huge portion of those what-if moments came late in the second quarter when the Niners and Chiefs were tied up at 10 apiece. Initially, it appeared as if head coach Kyle Shanahan was content to go into halftime with a tie. But with 14 seconds left, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tossed deep down the right side for tight end George Kittle, who hauled in what would have been a 42-yard gain and a relatively easy field-goal try to make the game 13-10 heading into halftime.

Except Kittle was flagged for offensive pass interference.

"I've gotta live with it. It's what it is," Kittle told reporters after the game. "You know the ref makes the call, you live with it."

With only seconds remaining at that point, Garoppolo subsequently took a knee to send the game into halftime.

NFL Officiating quickly backed up the call on the field, which you can watch below:

But as Niners Nation pointed out shortly thereafter, a similar push-off by Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph in the Wild Card round against the New Orleans Saints wasn't called, even though it was a touchdown and was automatically reviewed. And it wouldn't be hard to challenge the officiating on the level of consistency here.

And who knows what would have happened afterwards if the 49ers held a 23-10 lead instead of 20-10 in the fourth quarter.

Regardless, the call on Kittle didn't lose San Francisco the game, and it's low-hanging fruit (usually) to simply blame the officials for San Francisco's second Super Bowl loss.

"I think we played a great game," Kittle continued. "Like I said, we didn't get it done. But there were a ton of great individual efforts out there. ... Our defense put us in a position to win the game multiple times and as an offense we just didn't get it done."
  • 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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