If you were confused when Super Bowl LVIII hurtled toward overtime on Sunday night and weren’t 100% sure what the precise rules were, you weren’t alone. In fact, the San Francisco 49ers, one of the teams on the actual field at Allegiant Stadium, were largely clueless about what said rules were.
San Francisco fullback Kyle Juszczyk spoke about how unclear the recently-changed rule book was on playoff overtime — and he was far from the only 49ers player who grasped at straws for clarity.
Here's #49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk admitting he wasn't aware of the new overtime rules:
Head coach Kyle Shanahan is taking a lot of heat for choosing to receive the ball first after winning the OT coin toss. It turns out, for as detail-oriented as Shanahan and the 49ers’ entire operation has been to play in the NFC Championship Game in four of the last five years, this was something they were not fully prepared for, per a feature on The Ringer:
In case those screen grabs are a little inconclusive, Chiefs star defensive lineman Chris Jones said the Chiefs were talking through overtime in the postseason in trainingcamp. Part of the reason the rules were changed stems from Kansas City’s own, thrilling OT duel in the Divisional Round against the Bills a while back. They were the reason the rules changed, so to be fair, they had a bit of a built-in advantage that way.
Meanwhile, Juszczyk’s confusion is on the video above; Arik Armstead only saw the new rules on the jumbotron at Allegiant Stadium and was ignorant of them otherwise. That’s a tough look for the 49ers franchise to say the least, and you can’t help but look to Shanahan as the man to blame. His record in the Super Bowl is getting pretty out of hand.
This was only the second Super Bowl ever to go past the fourth quarter. With how dangerous Mahomes is standing on the opposite sideline, I can’t blame Shanahan for getting a little shaken. Plus, he had a dynamic defensive coordinator to match wits with in Steve Spagnuolo, not to mention a quarterback of his own in Brock Purdy who’s just not in the same galaxy as Mahomes from a physical tools standpoint.
Sometimes, when you have such a demoralizing loss like this, there aren’t any obvious takeaways. I guess I’d rather come painfully close to the Lombardi Trophy than get blown off the field. At least the 49ers put up a good fight. Their defense had a number of chances to get stops, and even had a 4th and short on KC’s winning drive. One tackle for loss there, and San Francisco is throwing a Super Bowl parade.
Yes, the overtime could’ve been handled better by Shanahan and the Niners as a whole. At the end of the night, one team had Mahomes and the other didn’t. To me, that is and will continue to be the real difference between these two teams who seem to have a stranglehold on their respective conferences.