49ers: Kyle Shanahan will win 2021 Coach of The Year if these 3 things happen
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: Kyle Shanahan, 49ers make it to NFC Championship game
The optimist should say, “why not a Super Bowl here?”
Fair. But even if Kyle Shanahan names Trey Lance his starting quarterback, either right out of the gate or early enough during the regular season, it’s hard to envision someone like Lance outperforming the likes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Kansas City Chiefs in a deciding playoff game.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers may have an improved roster, and many top names returning from serious injuries suffered in 2020 help matters a lot. Yet it’s hard to find too many predictions pegging the Niners as legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Playoff contenders, yes. But not the Lombardi Trophy. At least not yet.
It’s OK, though. While most pundits would likely expect San Francisco to be in the postseason dance, perhaps the team isn’t winning a playoff game.
So, from that perspective, one way in which Shanahan could improve his NFL Coach of the Year chances would be to exceed nearly every expectation and get the 49ers back into the NFC Championship game this season.
He might not even have to win it either, especially if a team like the Bucs is right there again and boasting essentially the same Super Bowl-winning roster from a year ago.
But by the time the award is announced, those same pundits could point out the job Shanahan did a year removed from all those injuries and with a rookie quarterback under center.