For a 49ers Super Bowl, please no more ‘Shanahan-igans!’

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

With a few aggressive trades, roster renovations and Kyle Shanahan’s stamp on the 49ers, the time is now or never for a Super Bowl win.

In February of 2017, the San Francisco 49ers found themselves watching the Super Bowl from home instead of having a live-action view from the sidelines.

The very next day, the Niners announced Kyle Shanahan would be the next head coach.

After a rocky start in his first year, starting 0-9, his team finished winning six of its final seven contests. The next season, the 2018 squad rounded out their campaign at 4-12, much in part to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s ACL tear early in the year.

Shanahan’s best season thus far came in 2019 as the 49ers went 13-3, falling short in the title game against the Kansas City Chiefs. For his merit, though, Shanahan was extended through 2025.

Success would have to wait as another injury-riddled blunder would hit the Niners in 2020. However, in 2021, San Francisco would go on to defeat seven of its final nine opponents (finishing 10-7) and made the NFC Championship game.

Enter present day: 2022.

Second-year quarterback Trey Lance sustained the same fate as Jimmy G did four years ago. The restructured contract for Garoppolo potentially now looks like the 49ers’ second-best transaction of the season.

With aspirations of returning to the big dance in February, the 49ers currently sit in clustered NFC West.

A well-balanced 49ers offense is Kyle Shanahan’s blueprint

The 49ers’ offensive production has seen them produce a total of 15 touchdowns, nine by air and six by land. Their big three of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle have accounted for over 1,000 yards receiving and six touchdowns.

The running game also boasts a stat line from Samuel for 588 yards and three touchdowns.  Garoppolo has also run one across the goal line. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. has since been traded to the AFC, which opens up playing time for the return of running back Elijah Mitchell.

Two weeks ago, the 49ers’ front office was aggressive in a deal for Hall of Fame-caliber running back Christian McCaffrey. Though his debut in Week 7 was less than stellar, the team looks to build off another balanced offensive attack from Shanahan.

With his previous team, the Carolina Panthers, McCaffrey accumulated 670 total yards from scrimmage and three scores, himself. In Week 8, he threw, ran and received a touchdown, the first trifecta since 2005.

Turnovers sound good for dessert but not an NFL offense. San Francisco will have to do a better job of ball control as the offense has committed 10 fumbles and lost half of those to add detriment to the six interceptions thrown.

The 49ers sit in the bottom eight in terms of turnover margin.

The defense is another versatile part of the Niners squad. They are ninth-best in yards and points allowed a game, and they are also third overall in sacks forced as well.

Factor in Pro Bowl kicker Robbie Gould, who has a perfect mark in point-after attempts and a 75-percent field-goal average on 12 tries, but his longest on the year is 51 yards.

With six home games and three on the road (including a neutral-site game in Mexico City), the 49ers are primed to make another late-season run which has previously carried them into a deep playoff push.

Looking ahead, next year, there are several key contributors like Garoppolo and Gould, who are set to become unrestricted free agents. Other defensive stalwarts and reserves in Azeez Al-Shaair, Jordan Willis and Emmanuel Moseley are all free to sign elsewhere in 2023.

There are three years remaining on the head coach’s contract.  Shanahan has yet to make the playoffs in consecutive campaigns, and he has yet to finish over .500 in back-to-back seasons.

San Francisco can no longer rely on another year of injury bailouts, bad luck or miscalculations. Shanahan’s squad may look very different on both sides of the ball next season.

It is a Super Bowl championship or bust for the 49ers.

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