The San Francisco 49ers will get an opportunity to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl ring since 1994 when they face off against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, looking to avenge their loss in the championship four years ago.
This time around, the 49ers and Chiefs possess new rosters, while their identities have shifted, but it’ll still be a challenge against Patrick Mahomes, which is as difficult a competition as in the NFL.
For the 49ers, a Super Bowl ring would provide some key closure to several members of the organization who have been with the franchise over the past few seasons but have consistently fallen short in their search for a Lombardi Trophy.
One person who could be significantly impacted by a championship ring in particular? Head coach Kyle Shanahan has yet to see his first ring despite being in the Super Bowl twice and reaching the NFC Championship Game five times in his coaching career.
A majority of those appearances have been with the 49ers, with just one Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game appearance stemming from his time as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons.
In today’s NFL, Shanahan is seen as one of the NFL’s top coaches but has that one asterisk next to his name: the lack of a Super Bowl ring.
How will Shanahan’s legacy be impacted if the 49ers win the Super Bowl?
Several of the NFL’s most heralded coaches have a Super Bowl victory on their resume: Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin, Pete Carroll, John Harbaugh, and Sean McVay.
Additionally, three other coaches have earned opportunities with a second team due to their previous success, which involved leading a Super Bowl-winning team: Sean Payton, Doug Pederson, and Mike McCarthy.
Kyle Shanahan is firmly in the mix as a Top 10 NFL head coach, but much has been made about his inability to win the game despite his success in leading teams deep into the playoffs, as seen throughout his 49ers tenure.
However, Shanahan may not yet be considered in the upper echelon of coaches because of the lack of a Super Bowl ring, which is an argument that can be applied to several levels of the NFL.
With a Super Bowl under his belt. Shanahan would put all of those concerns behind him, firmly establishing himself not only as a top play-caller in the NFL but also as a top overall coach over the likes of some of his counterparts.
Now, in order to accomplish that task, Shanahan and quarterback Brock Purdy will have to do something that only three other teams have accomplished over the past six years: beat Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs.
Shall they get it done, both Shanahan and Purdy would be etched into franchise history as the key figures that restored championship-level success back to San Francisco.