49ers: Kyle Shanahan will win 2021 Coach of The Year if these 3 things happen
By Peter Panacy
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is under pressure to win in 2021, but if he manages these three things specifically well, he could win a lofty award.
The NFL loves bounce-back stories, and the entirety of the San Francisco 49ers could be a great bounce-back story in 2021 if things go according to plan.
And that’s great news for head coach Kyle Shanahan.
In many ways, the upcoming season could define Shanahan’s tenure as head coach. First, the ugly: He’s had three losing seasons out of four, with each of those losing seasons boasting at least 10 losses. Granted, the first year was a complete rebuild, while 2018 and 2020 were marked by injuries to too many irreplaceable players.
When things went well? Shanahan helped get his team to the Super Bowl in 2019.
Still, the NFL is a bottom-line business. Teams are either winning, losing or stuck in mediocrity, which is arguably the worst category of the three.
On top of all that, Shanahan and the Niners are looking at a massive franchise shift: the move from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the wake of last spring’s aggressive trade-up to No. 3 overall in the NFL Draft, which netted San Francisco quarterback Trey Lance.
If that’s not a career-defining move, it’s hard to figure out what else would be.
For Shanahan to go from being a “good” head coach into the ranks of the elite, it would help to win a Super Bowl. Yet the comeback storyline the 49ers could potentially enjoy in 2021 could also net Shanahan a 2021 NFL Head Coach of the Year award, too.
Especially if he properly executes these three specific elements.