NFL: Super Bowl LVIII-San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The ex-NFL star questioned Kyle Shanahan’s decision-making after the Super Bowl loss.

The San Francisco 49ers lost a heartbreaker in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs, sending them home without any hardware once again as they head into another crucial offseason.

With the loss coming in overtime with the new rules, many questioned head coach Kyle Shanahan’s choice to receive the ball first, despite data showcasing that the win probabilities were near even when choosing to get the ball versus kicking first.

One of those detractors was former NFL quarterback Cam Newton, who has been in the headlines for his comments about 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and his “game-manager” skills.

However, on his 4th & 1 podcast, Newton came to Purdy’s defense for his Super Bowl performance, instead placing blame on Shanahan and the coaching staff for their choice to receive.

“First off, let’s say this. Brock Purdy did not have a bad game,” Newton said. “To that point, field goal versus touchdown, that’s not Brock Purdy. Why the f— did they receive the ball first? It was Tony Romo who mentioned this — when you know what you have to get, now you have four downs to get it, not three.”

Newton pointed out two issues: the 49ers not going for a touchdown and the players being unaware of the rules as key reasons why the coaching staff deserved the blame for the loss.

“The 49ers, they were just trying to get points,” Newton said. “And that is not Brock Purdy’s fault, that’s bad coaching. There was too many people who was exposed. They didn’t know the real rules of overtime.”

“We’re not understanding how serious this is. The fact that they weren’t addressed to what the rules were, that’s Steve Wilks, that’s Shanahan, that’s John Lynch, that’s the 49ers organization, and that’s not Brock Purdy’s fault. He played good enough for his team to win. He made plays and he made plays in times of need as well.”

Now, as I shared before, I don’t think the decision to receive was a bad one. The 49ers defense was tired and it wouldn’t have been the best decision to put that unit back out on the field for another possession.

However, my main gripe comes with the decision-making that came after the option to receive. Shanahan chose to receive in the case that the 49ers would get the first chance in sudden death after the first two possessions.

But, in utilizing that reasoning, he didn’t think like Andy Reid would, as the Chiefs were never giving the ball back to the offense, but rather keeping it in Patrick Mahomes’s hands for the game.

If the 49ers didn’t score, Kansas City was going for a field goal. If the 49ers scored three, the Chiefs were going for seven. And if San Francisco had managed to get a touchdown, it was going to be a try for the two-point conversion from Kansas City for the win.

Now, the biggest issue was the lack of seven points when opportunities were there offensively, which San Francisco needed on that first overtime drive.

Maybe next time, we see a different level of aggressiveness from Kyle Shanahan in pushing for that touchdown.

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