Why the 49ers took the ball in OT of Super Bowl: ‘We wanted the ball third’

It used to be one of the easiest decisions in football: If you win the toss in overtime, you take the ball.

The rules are different now, however, and that choice by San Francisco in the Super Bowl will be debated all offseason.

[Explaining the NFL’s OT rules: Regular season vs. playoffs]

The 49ers took the ball and drove for a field goal, then lost 25-22 when Patrick Mahomes guided Kansas City 75 yards the other way for the winning touchdown Sunday night. San Francisco’s drive ended when the 49ers kicked a field goal on fourth-and-4 from the 9.

If they’d known three points wouldn’t be good enough, they could have gone for a touchdown in that spot.

“That’s something we talked about,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. “None of us have a ton of experience of it.”

For many years, overtime ended as soon as one team scored. Then the rule was altered so both teams could possess the ball — unless the first team on offense scored a touchdown. In that case, the game would end on that TD, and that’s what happened when New England beat Atlanta 34-28 in Super Bowl 51.

An even more recent rule change mandated that in the postseason, both teams can possess the ball even if the first offensive team scores a touchdown. Now NFL playoff overtime even more closely resembles the college OT format, where teams alternate possessions. And in college, teams often like to have the ball second because they’ll have a better sense of what they need on their drive.

‘Obviously we’re hurting. The team’s hurting’ – 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan

This time, Kansas City had that advantage, which meant the Chiefs had no choice but to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 34, down three. They converted and eventually reached the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Mecole Hardman.

“There’s two ways: You kick it off or you receive it,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. “I’m not sure there’s a right answer, necessarily. Ours ended up being the right one. That’s what we felt was the…


Source link : https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nfl/why-the-49ers-took-ball-in-ot-of-super-bowl-we-wanted-the-ball-third

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Publish date : 2024-02-12 14:21:06

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