San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan fielded questions about his missteps in previous Super Bowls.
“No,” Shanahan responded to a question last week about whether he remains “haunted” by blowing a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. “It hurts. It doesn’t kill you. You understand what happened. You understand you can handle it. You can take it.”
While Shanahan may not be “haunted” by his clock management troubles when he was an offensive coordinator in that infamous big game or by his fourth quarter mistakes in Super Bowl LIV when he was in his third season as the 49ers head coach, he later described the losses as “heartbreaking.”
“I’ve been able to coach in two Super Bowls and to lose either of them, both of them are heartbreaking,” Shanahan said. Meanwhile, a former Niners coach still carries some regret for a similar heartbreaking Super Bowl defeat.
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Current Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh previously served as San Francisco’s head coach from 2011-14. He took the Niners to Super Bowl XLVII, where they matched up with his brother, John, and the Baltimore Ravens.
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The 49ers went on to lose to the Ravens in 2013. Although more than a decade has passed since Harbaugh watched his team suffer the devastating 34-31 loss, the series of events remains at the forefront of the coach’s mind.
“There’s probably not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that game and what we could’ve done down at the end, (seven) yards away from getting into the end zone,” Harbaugh said in Las Vegas, via the Associated Press. “You leave that field, and you go, there might be other days. Then you start thinking that might be the only day. Just wanted another shot at it, take another crack.”
During Harbaugh’s introductory press conference with the Chargers, he admitted that the Super Bowl loss fueled his desire to return to the NFL.
“When I say it motivates me every day, it’s every day,” he said in reference to his shortcomings at the professional football level.
Harbaugh seems to specifically regret how the Niners approached their fateful trip to the red zone in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVII. San Francisco managed to climb back into the game after being down by 22 points at halftime.
The Niners trailed by five points with two minutes remaining in the game. The 49ers had the ball at the Ravens’ five-yard line. Harbaugh elected to pass the football on second, third and fourth down. San Francisco would not get the football back for the rest of the game.
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“I wish we would have run the ball, would have taken a crack with Frank Gore [with] a couple carries down there,” Harbaugh told NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday. “Woulda, coulda, should, it’s the kind of stuff that haunts you because you walk off the field and go, ‘There will be other days,’ and you realize that might have been the only day. And to have a chance to have another day, that’s all you can ask for is a chance.”
Harbaugh’s former team will try to win its sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history today. The 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs play in Super Bowl LVIII at 6:30 EST.
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