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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton: 49ers’ Super Bowl loss due to ‘bad coaching’

Feb 19, 2024 at 10:05 AM--

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While former NFL quarterback Cam Newton hasn't wavered in his opinions surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, who he said played "good enough" for the Bay Area team to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 58, he is directing blame for the loss elsewhere.

"Field goal versus touchdown, that's not Brock Purdy," Newton said on his "4th and 1" podcast. "Why the [expletive] did they receive the ball first? It was Tony Romo who mentioned this—when you know what you have to get, now you have four downs to get it, not three."

Newton added, "The 49ers, they were just trying to get points. And that is not Brock Purdy's fault. That's bad coaching. There was too many people who was exposed. They didn't know the real rules of overtime."

Newton places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, citing a combination of poor decision-making and lack of preparation as the reasons behind the team's defeat.

The Chiefs secured victory in overtime after the 49ers won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball first. This decision sparked significant debate and criticism, with many arguing that kicking the ball to quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense would have been the better strategic move.

Following the game, a couple of notable 49ers players confessed to being unaware of the recently modified playoff overtime rules, which differ from those in the regular season, allowing both teams an opportunity to possess the football no matter the outcome of the initial drive.

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead admitted, "I didn't even know about the new playoff overtime rules, so it was a surprise to me. I didn't even really know what was going on in terms of that."

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk echoed his teammate's sentiments, saying, "You know what? I didn't even realize that the playoff rules were different in overtime. So I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win, but I guess that's not the case. I don't totally know the strategy there."

Shanahan explained that the 49ers aimed to possess the ball third if both teams scored touchdowns or matched with field goals.

"If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win and got that field goal," Shanahan said after the game. "So we knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal, and if we did, then we thought it was in our hands."

Last week, Shanahan defended the decision again, noting that he spoke with the 49ers' analytics department ahead of the game, in case an overtime opportunity presented itself.

"Our analytics felt that was the best way to go," Shanahan stated. "... I think the type of game it was did match what they felt was the best way to do it. It did seem more like a field-goal game, and our defense had been out there for a real long time right before that, so I didn't feel at all [like overriding] that at the time."

Ultimately, the 49ers offense only managed a field goal in overtime, providing the Chiefs with an opportunity to secure victory with a touchdown—an opportunity they capitalized on.

H/t to Daniel Bates of The Spun for the find.

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