San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is not worrying about personal reputations as he prepares for Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Shanahan, the son of two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, has been here before, facing the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV four years ago, but came out on the wrong end of that one in a 31-20 defeat.
In each of the previous two seasons, the 44-year-old saw his 49ers lose in the NFC Championship game.
While he boasts a strong overall record in his seven seasons as a head coach, Shanahan faced questions in Las Vegas this week about whether another loss would feed a narrative that he could not win ‘the big one’.
“I’d deal with that the same as if we win,” Shanahan said. “I’d celebrate with my team, my family and then move on with the rest of my life, which is being a father, a son, coaching and working. A narrative, good or bad, is just a narrative.
“When you go into these games, what makes you prepare is you don’t want regrets. You want to do everything that makes sense to myself and to the team.
“When you do that, no matter how hard something is or how good something is, you keep perspective. If you want your perspective to be someone else’s narrative, good luck.”
Shanahan has a 72-54 overall record with the 49ers since they gave him his first head coaching job in 2017. But he acknowledged that now, only a Super Bowl win would represent a good season.
“That’s how it boils down for everybody in the NFL,” he said. “The only time in a season you’re satisfied without a Super Bowl is maybe the first year if you exceed expectations – that’s the only time if you don’t make the play-offs you don’t feel you’ve completely failed.
“Other than that, if you don’t make the play-offs in this league, no-one is happy. If you make the play-offs and lose your last game, no-one’s happy. If you get to the Super Bowl and lose the Super Bowl, you’re not happy.
“Only one team is happy at the end of the year. Whether it comes down to the Super Bowl or a play-off game, it’s the same. When you go for the big one it hurts when you get that close because it’s that hard to get there.
“We’re fortunate our team has been able to get here twice. The last one was a tough one.
“We have every opportunity but they made the plays and we didn’t. I think it will be a real tight game this weekend. We’ll see how it unfolds, but I like our chances.”