And the game ball doesn’t go to any San Francisco 49er coach or player on the field, but a former offensive coordinator. George Kittle says that Kyle Shanahan awarded the game ball to his father, Mike Shanahan. Mike Shanahan was offensive coordinator for the 49ers back in the 90s, winning a Super Bowl with Steve Young.
Going into their game on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers had a bit of a personal issue with Washington. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was offensive coordinator under his father Mike for the organization from 2010-2013 and the relationship didn’t end on the best of terms.
The 49ers managed to shut out Washington in their house in the worst of field conditions. These could scream home-field advantage, but the 49ers defense clamped down and didn’t allow a single score, let alone many trips into their side of the field for Washington. Washington has their own front office and coaching issues having fired Jay Gruden during the 2019 season and dealing with Bruce Snyder/Dennis Allen in the front office. Having the offensive coordinator they fired come back into their house with a team he built from the ground-up (with John Lynch) into a 6-0 squad and punch them in the mouth is the ultimate “how do you like me now?” moment.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have work to do. While they won the game in a gritty defensive battle, the elements were not kind. While we can make excuses for the weather, the offense still failed to score a touchdown any way you look at it and they had a couple nice opportunities to.
But the stars of the game today were the Shanahans, who Kittle said the team was motivated to get a win for. Kyle Shanahan can call an offense, and he’s quickly proving he knows how to build a team from scratch, but Kittle also identifies another important piece: Shanahan’s players play hard for him. There’s so many stories about coaches losing the locker room or teams quitting on the coach, yet the 49ers play hard for Shanahan even in previous seasons when there was nothing left to play for.
This guy can flat-out coach. And his team helped him get a personal win for him and his old man.