The Super Bowl went to overtime for the second time in history on Sunday and it was the first time that overtime was conducted under the revised rules that guarantee each team a chance to possess the ball, so the decision for the team that won the coin flip had more intrigue than in the past.
After winning the toss, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to receive rather than kick off or defer and the team drove for a field goal to open the extra period. The Chiefs then drove 72 yards before a Patrick Mahomes touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman made them 25-22 winners.
Shanahan explained after the game that he wanted the ball if the game went to sudden death with a third possession. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was asked about that call after the game and said he’s not sure if there’s a correct way to play things given the lack of history in that scenario, so he wouldn’t second guess Shanahan’s call.
“That’s the value of [statistical analysis coordinator] Mike Frazier,” Reid said. “He does a great job with that. There’s two way you can go with it. You can either kick it off or you can receive it. I’m not sure there’s a right answer necessarily. Ours ended up being the right one. That easily could have gone the other way. That’s what we felt was the right thing to do. I’m never going to question Kyle because he’s brilliant. That was just something that we chose through out studies. We felt that was important.”
Regardless of what side you choose after the coin flip, your team needs to do its job on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs did that, which is why they are celebrating a second straight Super Bowl title and the 49ers are again left trying to pick up the pieces.