We are regularly subjected to comparisons in sports. Players are compared to current and past players, and coaches are compared to current and past coaches. It’s the nature of the beast that people want to compare someone to a great (or awful) player or coach from the past.
For the second time this offseason, new San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is getting one of the ultimate comparisons for this day and age. Former quarterback Tony Romo met with the media at the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, and he compared Shanahan to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. This from FanRag columnist Bill Williamson:
Romo also said he thinks the San Francisco 49ers hit a home run in their hiring of new head coach Kyle Shanahan. He said Shanahan has special offensive coaching abilities and he is like a second quarterback. He compared Shanahan’s offensive coaching skills to New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick’s defensive coaching chops.
I’m looking for a transcript, but Romo appears to have specific offensive vs. defensive coaching, as opposed to talking about Shanahan being the next Belichick in general. Given the success Shanahan has had as an OC, it does not strike me as a super hot take. It’s got some spice to it given that Belichick has been viewed as a defensive genius dating back to his days as Bill Parcells’ defensive coordinator, but again, there have been hotter takes, for sure.
This is not the first time someone has made a Shanahan-Belichick comparison this offseason. Back in January, MMQB’s Albert Breer took a look at the four teams in the AFC and NFC Championship games, and looked at how they were built. In discussing the Atlanta Falcons, Breer spoke with then Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, and Hoyer made the Belichick comparison.
“For me, you just know those two, when you see them in the building, they’re constantly thinking about football,” Hoyer said on Tuesday. “That’s the one thing I really admired about Kyle. You knew when he was there, he was putting the work in, that’s all he was focused on. He might walk by you in the hallway, and you’d say, ‘Hey what’s up, Kyle?’ and he’d keep walking.
"But that was because he’s working on third down or he’s worried about the red area. To me, his total commitment, his mind, he’s always thinking about it. That’s why I made the comparison. Bill was the same way. You’d see him in the hallway, ‘Hey Bill,’ and he’d just look up, and nod, and keep going. You knew he had so much he was thinking about.”
Neither Hoyer or Romo is saying Shanahan is going to be the next great head coach in the NFL, but both clearly like what he brings to the table. For Hoyer, given the limited success he had with Shanahan in 2014, it’s not surprising he is effusive in his praise. And with Shanahan a front-runner at that point for the 49ers job and Hoyer hitting free agency, why not butter him up a little?
For Romo, I’m guessing he has seen what Shanahan’s offenses have done, and he likely has spoken with Matt Ryan and other quarterbacks that worked with Shanahan. Romo is headed to the CBS Sports broadcast booth this fall, and maybe we’ll get to hear more of his thoughts on Kyle Shanahan’s offensive expertise. The 49ers will appear on CBS when they travel to Chicago in Week 13, and host the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. Romo is going to be on the top squad, replacing Phil Simms, so we’ll have to wait and see if any of those games are of any interest to the top CBS crew.