When Kyle Shanahan was hired by the San Francisco 49ers there were some questions with his character. Shanahan had a few rumblings that he was arrogant and didn’t listen. There’s a story out there about how Shanahan will always have his mind on football and be less receptive when someone approaches him in the hallway in the days leading up to a game.
Well, if he’s supposedly difficult to deal with, or has a cocky personality, it’s hard to see. Especially after one season and interviews. Then again, this is coming from a team who had this guy doing press conferences a few years prior.
Matt Maiocco brought this up in his latest podcast with guest FS1 reporter Peter Schrager, stating he didn’t see any of the above. Since the podcast isn’t so much of an interview and more of a conversation, I’m going to provide the entire exchange:
Maiocco: “I remember he [John Lynch} was talking glowingly about Kyle Shanahan. At one point he said that Shanahan’s personality might rub people the wrong way, it may come across as cocky. Here’s the crazy thing, Peter. Being around Kyle Shanahan for one full season, I didn’t see any of that. When he made a mistake he’d own up to it. He didn’t talk down to anybody. He responds to questions directly and honestly. I don’t know what he was like for you to cover him as an offensive coordinator, but it just seems to me that this guy was made to be a head coach in the NFL.”
Peter Schrager: “It’s so funny because you get these labels of these guys. I think the label that Shanahan had was he was difficult with the media and quarterbacks didn’t like him. I could tell you right now. Kirk Cousins, he might be with John DeFilippo he might of played for Jay Gruden. Kirk Cousins loves Kyle Shanahan. I can tell you right now— Colt McCoy loves Kyle Shanahan. Matt Schaub loves Kyle Shanahan. And the people who have covered Kyle Shanahan over the years in those local markets really have a lot of respect for him. I don’t know where that narrative came from. Even Lynch saying it on a broadcast, I think it was floating out there in the ether that he was, “ugh, he’s difficult to deal with but he sure is a genius when it comes to offense.” You couldn’t be more right. I don’t know Kyle probably as well as you do Matt or as well as some of people your market who are covering him. I actually have very little relationship with Kyle Shanahan, but I’ll say this: All my dealings with him in a production meeting have been awesome. At that state of the franchise event he had a practice the next morning. He had OTAs the next morning. There’s probably a lot of things on his mind. He couldn’t have been more gracious, more open. I thought he handled himself and the questions—I wasn’t throwing softballs at him, I was asking him, “Why should I believe the Rams are challenged by the 49ers?” and he was straight up—so I gotta say 10/10 for Kyle Shanahan. All the players who play for him or have played for him, have a word I feel weird saying, they call it ‘swag’. This guy carries himself with a ton of confidence and I think that might be what rubs some of the media people wrong in the past, but he backs it up. That guy knows how to draw up a play and he knows how to run a team.”
If the 49ers have had anyone difficult to deal with, Jim Harbaugh is a great example. Love him all you want, he had some duds in a press conference with questionable redirects and some crazy anecdotes. During his introductory press conference in 2011 when asked about the impending lockout, he had a few moments where he almost appeared standoffish .
Below are the time stamps of the interview entire interview. It’s a bit more like a conversation rather than a Q&A so it’s going to be a bit broader. Still, like all of Maiocco’s podcasts it’s a good listen. You can hear the podcast using the widget above or go here to listen if you can’t see it.
01:09 - Hosting the 49ers’ “State of the franchise”
02:57 - Spending time in the Bay Area
04:36 - Going back with 49ers general manager John Lynch
06:11 - Shanahan’s personality with the media
08:35 - Shanahan’s relationship with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan
10:08 - What Schrager knows about Garoppolo
12:45 - Where are the 49ers as far as competing for the division and a Super Bowl
15:09 - The chemistry on the 49ers/friendships
17:45 - Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan’s relationship
20:02 - Dez Bryant to the 49ers
23:45 - 49ers, Arizona, and Josh Rosen as the quarterback
25:30 - The competitiveness of the NFC West