As the San Francisco 49ers prepare for their Super Bowl LVIII matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday, head coach Kyle Shanahan has a proverbial monkey to get off his back.
Shanahan is 0-1 in the Super Bowl as a head coach. His first appearance in the big game as a head coach came against the Chiefs as well, just four years ago in Super Bowl LIV.
In that game, Shanahan had coached the 49ers to a 20-10 lead well into the fourth quarter. The Chiefs, however, had other plans, as they went on to score 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter en route to a comeback victory.
While the memories of that game are painful to fans of the 49ers, Shanahan might have a different take on them and how he grows from them.
Kyle Shanahan is 0-1 in the Super Bowl.
Although that Super Bowl appearance was Shanahan's only one as a head coach, he also got there as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. That was an even more heartbreaking loss.
Many fans will remember the Falcons carried a 28-3 into the third quarter of that Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, before ultimately losing 34-28 in OT.
When recently asked by Peter King of NBC Sports about being haunted by that loss, Shanahan insists the contrary "It makes you stronger, really."
While the scars of previous Super Bowl losses might sting, it sounds like Shanahan has learned from them and used the knowledge of them for growth.
And he'll be looking to show that growth on Sunday, in which he returns to the Super Bowl four years later, with only eight starters remaining from his 2019 squad. All of whom are wiser and more experienced, as he also is.
Shanahan will be looking to "get the monkey off his back" Sunday, and hoist his first Super Bowl trophy, and sixth for the 49ers franchise.