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That time when Art Spander took Kyle Shanahan’s backpack

It’s one of the best stories from the Super Bowl and new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan laid it all out in full detail

The story slowly spread on social media that Kyle Shanahan was missing his backpack after a Super Bowl media availability session. Rumor was that it contained the game plan. Was Bill Belichick up to his old tricks? Apparently not, but it made for a lot of good humor on the interwebs. In Shanahan’s first media session with local beat writers in Santa Clara, he explained the entire story and it’s hilarious. Unfortunately the culprit, Art Spander, was not in attendance at the press conference, but you can read his interview with SB Nation’s Louis Bien here.

Spander is a veteran sports journalist that has been to every Rose Bowl since the beginning of time and will tell you about each one if you give him a chance. I regularly sit within a few seats of him at 49ers games in the press box and he has an infinite number of colorful stories to share. That’s what makes this story even more hilarious. If you know him, you are aware that he is the least likely person to be up to some mischief regarding a “stolen” backpack.

Here’s the interview with Shanahan describing the backpack story:

Tell us about the backpack.

Now I know how you guys roll.

What was that like to lose your backpack?

It was a very panicked feeling.

It had the game plan in it?

That wasn’t what I was nervous about. I have an iPad that all of us have now and you need codes to get into it and we can erase the whole thing from where we are. It had all my Super Bowl tickets for my friends and family so it was basically a $30,000 bag of cash that was missing. That was my panic.

And you talked to Art?

I did. I haven’t since. I was walking around the whole thing trying to find...I was just looking for my backpack, I didn't know who took it but I couldn’t get more than five feet without someone stopping me and I was getting insecure because people were trying to talk to me and I’m like, I can’t even look at them in the eye. “I gotta find my backpack.” “Oh this guy is weird.”

I finally went back to my seat where I was, and there was one backpack sitting there. So I just went and starting looking in the backpack and finally I found Art’s name on it. I was asking some reporters around, someone had his cell phone so they called him. They couldn’t hear, I don’t know, but they talked to Art and they finally got off and I was like, “Does he have it?”

He goes, “I don’t know.” (laughter)

“You just talked to him for 30 seconds what do you mean you don’t know?”

“I don’t know. He’s coming down here though.” So I sat there and waited for like 30 minutes for him to get there. I missed the bus, I was still out there. Finally he came and he was wearing the backpack, but he still didn’t know it was mine. So I tried to grab it from him, he shook me off, and then he eventually realized it, and he was awesome, but it was a mistaken backpack.

Did it look like your backpack?

No...(laughter) It’s obvious. It’s a dark area, we were in a dark area. His was black, mine was blue, but the worst part about it is I am a forgetful person. Besides football, my wallet, I lose regularly. So, all the quarterbacks, my wife, every friend I’ve ever had they‘re like “Of course you lost the gameplan.” I’m like “No, I didn’t. Someone jacked me, I promise.” No one believed me.

For a second when it was gone did you think Belichick?

You know I messed with Art on that. I go “What do you work for Belichick or something like that?” He didn’t get my joke.