Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan voices opinion on neutral-site conference championship games

Jan 27, 2023 at 2:10 PM--

Last week, Pro Football Talk reported that the NFL has at least looked into the possibility of holding conference championship games at neutral sites, much like what the league dues with the Super Bowl and what college football does with bowl games.

"Within the league office, the interest in neutral-site title games has become very real," wrote Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. "The NFL envies the atmosphere of major college bowl games, where a 50/50 mix of fans are decked out in team colors. It's one thing about college football that pro football does not fully replicate."

Many have been critical of the idea, including at least some NFL owners.

"I hate the idea," Steelers president Art Rooney II recently said during a radio interview. "I don't like that at all. My sense is that if you put that up for a vote, it wouldn't pass today, but who knows."

On Friday, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked about the possibility of future conferences championship games being played at neutral sites. Needless to say, he is not a fan of the idea, even though a neutral site might have been advantageous for the 49ers' upcoming NFC Championship Game matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I would not like that (neutral sites)," Shanahan told reporters. "That's what you work for during the year. It's a big reward. It's a big reward to get that bye week, and it's a huge reward to play at home. I hope it stays that way."

The 49ers board a Philadelphia-bound plane this afternoon and will play in front of what should be a loud Lincoln Financial Field crowd on Sunday. San Francisco's coach is looking forward to the opportunity.

"There's pluses and advantages to both," Shanahan explained while comparing being the road team versus the home team. "I think there's more to playing at home because of the crowd noise, but it's always nice to go on the road, too, with your crew, and rally together, and go into a place where no one wants you there except for your team, and that can be really fun and inspiring also."

The 49ers and Eagles kick off on Sunday at noon for the right to play the AFC champion in Super Bowl 57.


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