And Then There Was One
Whereas football is still going strong in the playoffs, 49er fans are currently in full
offseason mode. This week has been all coaching interviews and speculation. With all things
that take time and patience, something fans have absolutely nothing of, things have bounced all
over the place.
At the beginning of it all, the top prizes in the head coaching search were considered
to be Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots, and Kyle Shanahan of the Atlanta Falcons.
Both offensive coordinators, of two of the best offenses in the NFL, find a lot of parallels.
Josh McDaniels is the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. Known for his
extensive tenure in New England with jobs from personnel assistant all the way to offensive
coordinator, he’s been a part of the winning equation for the Patriots for over a decade (He’s
also more notoriously known for his one year stint in Denver where he selected Tim Tebow).
Where many believe he’s learned from his mistakes in Denver and we’ll only be better because
of them, some think it’s a glaring red flag and enough reason to prefer Kyle Shanahan over him.
Kyle Shanahan, son of super bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan, is the offensive
coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. Always on the offensive side of the ball, Kyle has made
himself a name by being the offensive coordinator of three separate teams. From Houston,
Washington, and now Atlanta. Atlanta is where he’s gained the most popularity, where the
Falcons are currently 11-5, with a first round bye, heading into the playoffs.
What’s most interesting of these choices is the quality in comparison to the past few
years in Santa Clara. After the firing of fan favorite Jim Harbaugh, reports flew across the
internet about Jed York not being able to garner interest in the position. When Adam Gase, one
of the top candidates had all but accepted the job, Trent Baalke stepped in and decided to hire
Jim Tomsula. This has led to the assumption the team wasn’t viewed as highly as other
locations for head coaches.
Here we are now, after the surprise firing of Chip Kelly, and before all of this started, the
belief was the top two candidates were Kyle Shanahan and Josh McDaniels. Sean McVay was
also a very exciting candidate but accepted the head coaching position from the Los Angeles
Rams. The two best candidates seem to be within the grasp of the 49ers.
What’s necessary no matter whose chosen, is the realistic understanding that this is very
much so going to need to be a thoughtful, patient rebuild. The 49ers have all the tools to make it
work too. An estimated one hundred million dollars in cap space and the number two
overall pick, make it very favorable, but that’s not all. With every quarterback a free agent,
there’s no one to force on the next head coach. In all of the fans distaste in Paraag Maathe, he’s
an absolute magician when it comes to contracts. Because of that, there’s not really any single
contract you could point to that would be detrimental to the team.
Through three years of hell, comes a light at the end of the
tunnel. Whether it’s Kyle Shanahan, or Josh McDaniels, it seems the San Francisco 49ers have
bright days ahead.
So long as they don’t hire Tom Cable.