There are plenty of worthy storylines leading up to the NFC Championship between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. The defensive coordinator for Green Bay, Mike Pettine, was the head coach for the Cleveland Browns from 2014-2015. His offensive coordinator in 2014? Kyle Shanahan. There’s famous video circling the internet from there time together.
I hope Kyle Shanahan used this moment as motivation to hang up 40 on Mike Pettine tonight pic.twitter.com/L2TbKM5DLu— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) October 16, 2018
Having practiced against Pettine’s defenses for an entire season is advantage Niners this week, much like it was when the two teams faced earlier this season. In two games against Pettine, Shanahan is averaging 33.5 points per game, 143 yards rushing in these games with an average of 5.5 yards on the ground. C.J. Beathard was the quarterback in one of these games. When Kyle is familiar with a coach, he does what he wants. That was the case against Zimmer and should be once again versus Pettine.
We won’t hear much about their history, though. Instead, we’ll hear about how the 49ers passed on Aaron Rodgers, how Jimmy Garoppolo is a game manager. On Monday, some members of the media said, “the 49ers haven’t played a good defense,” and “Jimmy G hasn’t proven himself yet.” It’s not going to stop, either. We love to rewrite history, but Rodgers fell in the first round. It wasn’t just San Francisco passing on the likely Hall of Fame to be quarterback. That’s such a tired narrative. “Rodgers was a 49ers fan growing up” is another one that we are sure to hear early and often.
I wouldn’t mind reading how Matt LaFleur and Shanahan worked together, and what LaFleur learned from Kyle as the quarterback’s coach for the Falcons in 2014. Instead, it’s hoping for a 100-anniversary rematch between the Chiefs and the Packers. Because who doesn’t remember the very first Super Bowl. It’s all a bit odd.
To even it out, yes, we know the Niners were without Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander, and Joe Staley in the first matchup. Also Matt Breida and Robbie Gould. There is a reason San Francisco is 7-point favorites. That group of players is worth a point, I’d imagine. There is plenty to discuss, but which storyline is driving you nuts already?