How Little Shanny blew the Super Bowl

Hey, Kyle Shanahan, you just lost the Super Bowl for the Atlanta Falcons. What are you going to do next?

Are you going to Disney World?

No, you’re not. No Disney World for you. You’re going to the 49ers, or so we believe, where you’ll lose and lose and lose some more while you think about how you choked away the biggest game of your life.

Click here to read the rest of my Tuesday column.

This article has 152 Comments

  1. I am sure KS will be thinking how he should have called something else on those occasions. A hard lesson learned, hopefully.

    1. It’s articles like this POS garbage that throw Grant right back into the fire. Talking smack like this from a tool who has never played a sport and thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. You’re a columnist at a small time news outlet and only because daddy got you the job. You’re lucky someone hasn’t put Little Crybaby Wuss Baby Cohn in his place. I hardly ever come here anymore and this is why… you SUCK and will never advance in this profession. Puff Piece journalism at it’s best

  2. On third-and-1 at a key moment in the fourth quarter, you called a seven-step drop from a shotgun formation. The play developed so slowly, a new ice age could have set in. All you needed was one measly yard, but you called a deep pass, and the Patriots sacked your quarterback, he fumbled, they recovered and scored a touchdown a few plays later to cut your lead to eight.

    What were you thinking, Kyle?

  3. Going into the game, the Patriots pass rush wasn’t that good. For all the 3 step drops the Patriots were using, the Falcons were sure able to knock Brady around. The defense went to the prevent too early, and seemed winded. Ultimately, several factors played into a perfect storm that could have been navigated better by Captain Quinn. Lessons learned the hard way tend to not be repeated. Let’s hope that’s the case moving forward….

    1. I find it funny that the Nepotism Hire blames it all on Shanahan.

      The Falcons never adjusted their game plan on defense when the Patriots changed theirs on offense. Simply put, the Patriots pretty much abandoned the run and went to the shotgun to pass. Consequently the Falcons went from harassing Brady on 50% of his pass plays to under 20% and Brady carved them up for 31 points while rarely coming under pressure.

      Yet Captain Nepotism and Goat Searching Crowd somehow feel it’s all Shanahan’s fault over 3 plays. I mean Quinn **** the bed on defense with the Falcons giving up 31 points after half-time yet Shanahan’s three plays made the 4th quarter are ‘the reason.’

      Just goes to show you how silly and unrealistic fans and the press can be in their desire to ‘find THE Goat.’ So while Shanahan deserves SOME criticism, the fact is the Falcons’ lousy defense (#27 in the NFL last year) was the achilles heel.

        1. Ha… saw them playing soft when the third started. That extended halftime seemed to help a bit. I remember another team down big coming back after an extended halftime.

      1. MosesZD and Raor—– I agree. The defense went into a prevent mode. Someone like Brady will cut you up if you do that.

  4. You sir, Grant, are an idiot!

    Shanahan is not the runningback who missed the block on Hightower on his blitz (even though it was his responsibility) that allowed the strip sack. It is not Shanahan’s fault that Matt Ryan held the ball too long on the 2nd sack, and last time I checked it wasn’t Shanahan’s fault that Jake Matthews was called for holding. It is up to the players to execute the game plan, which they did not. Is Shanahan at fault for not calling more running plays to run the clock out more, yes it was.

    Oh, and by the way, did Shanahan call the defensive plays and actually play defense? No he did not.

    Grant, you’ll never work for a top notch news site as long you keep writing garbage, like you always do!

              1. Possibly, but when he goes this over the top with a statement it’s a waste of time to acknowledge it.

              2. Agreed Rocket. It is obviously a hit piece that wants to stir the pot without the ingredients needed to make the stew. If I wanted that, I could pick up a tabloid magazine and read it.

              3. Have to agree that this is way too far, even for Grant. Vince Lombardi used to say, “It doesn’t matter if you fall down, it only matters what you do when you get back up”. Let’s see what KS does going forward. Very bad form on this one.

    1. Amen Rocket. The title alone shows it will be a shallow take on the play-calling instead of looking at all the factors that led to the loss.

  5. Ohhh Pllllleeeaassee. We hired Kyle Shannahan Grant… Get over it. You were wrong. No Wolfe, or your Holly Trinity. Good lord. You sound like a depressed fan.

  6. Not really all on Shanahan’s play calling. Defense couldnt get off the field or make a stop when it needed to. Look at how many snaps Patriots offense had vs Falcons offense. Agreed that they should of used more 3 step drops or screens to running backs. Hopefully he’ll learn from this ordeal

  7. Shanahan can’t take all the blame, defense couldn’t stop Brady when they needed to and Ryan should have gotten rid of that ball before taking that sack..let the Pats right back in….

    1. Quinn blew the game. When the Patriots went to the shotgun he didn’t change his defense. In the first half they had 50% pressures on Brady. In the second half the Patriots passed from the Shotgun, Brady seldom got pressure and the lousy linebackers and secondary of the NFL’s #27 defense got torched.

      The only chance the Falcons defense had was pressure. And Quinn kept 4-man rushing against the shotgun and it didn’t work.

  8. KS is the best HC hire since JH, and now that Baalke is gone, I have hope.

    KS will learn from his mistakes. I hope he lets his OC call the plays so he will be freed up to do the important things like game management. If he attracts decent coordinators, and delegates them responsibilities, he will do well.

  9. Putting the ball on the ground in your own end up 2 scores , and taking a sack in field goal range , when you could have simply threw it away was inexcusable

    1. Some of the worst situational play-calling you will ever see. Little Shanny was going for the splash headline and he belly flopped.

      1. He put the ball in the hands of the so called MVP… here’s the play ; it breaks open you deliver , not there ? Get rid of it ! Ryan failed.

              1. Gotcha. So you liked the play called by McDaniels because the Patriots executed it, but hated the calls by Shanahan because the Falcons failed to execute it.

              2. I liked McDaniels’ commitment to the quick passing game. It didn’t work early but he stuck with it and it paid off.

              3. You’re showing a clear bias without considering everything involved. The players on the Patriots executed the called plays while the Falcons failed to do so at crucial points. It is as simple as that.

              4. Freeman should have blocked Hightower instead of giving him a love tap. Inexcusable.
                Ryan should have thrown the pass away instead of taking the sack. Inexcusable.
                Matthews should have not bear hugged Long. Inexcusable.
                The Falcons defense should have held their ground when they had the Patriots facing a third and ten deep in Patriots territory during the closing minutes of regulation. Inexcusable.

              5. Except the times that he looked panicked and lost. Other than that, he was great. If not for the Falcons calling a pass on third and one, Freeman whiffing on Hightower (who was right in front of him), and Ryan fumbling, the Patriots don’t sniff winning that game.

                Yes, it wasn’t a good play call and neither was the play that led to the sack taking the Falcons out of FG range, but that’s in hindsight, too.

                Had Freeman made the relatively easy block (or even just got any piece of Hightower) Ryan would’ve had time to deliver the ball to, as Greg Cosell said, a wide open receiver for a TD. Whether the pass is completed or not, who knows.

                McD was gifted the chance to be part of the comeback, which featured a pretty good QB, Tom Brady. Ever heard of him? We won’t really know what kind of OC, and especially HC, McD is, until he no longer has Brady.

                He may well prove to be a better HC than KS, but for you to essentially say, “I told you so,” now, is ridiculous.

      2. Zero evidence to back up this claim. Media types who are spouting this nonsense are merely trying to go with the flow of irrational NFL fans.

              1. Yeah, mistake on my part. However, it doesn’t change my sarcastic comment of it being absolutely peanuts.

          1. Yeah. Going against the #1 defense in the NFL with an inexperienced team against the GREATEST DEFENSIVE COACH IN THE LAST 30 years who had two weeks to prepare….

            You’re ridiculous.

            And, for the record, the 49ers won two Superbowls scoring less than the Falcons. Defense lost this game for the Falcons. Not three plays by Shanahan.

            1. Yes, it was a very strong one liner, Grant.

              The ridiculously over the top article and your equally hyperbolic comments that followed were an awfully long way to go to the there, though.

      3. not nearly as epic as Atlanta’s collapse, but the 49ers time management and play calling on the final set of downs in SB47 was as bad as you could get in that situation. 3 failed passes to Crabtree, never gave it to Gore to try run it in, etc. Harbaugh bears responsibility for that and the 49ers first SB loss

          1. McDaniels made all the right play calls and Kyle lost the super bowl for the Falcons. You’re too black and white in your reasoning sometimes.

  10. G-rant your puerile punk ranks like you’ve been drinking some Trumpian Kool-aid to insult people that have accomplished more in their life than you and your daddy have or ever will in their life!
    Grow up!

  11. This article seethes with mockery, scorn and condescension. The comparative resumes’ of the scorner and the scornee make that curious in the extreme. That the vitriolic takedown of Kap spoke to accumulated personal dislike was understood, but one wonders what affront Kyle may have committed to earn this much hostility………

    1. I’ve never met Shanahan. I even argued that the 49ers should sign him. But I have to call them like I see them, and he choked.

      1. Well, as you can tell, I didn’t like the tone you set, hahaha. My grudge reference was because I don’t understand the motivation might be to be so confrontational at this point. Is this like a Weigh In? Drumming up interest?
        : >)
        The football takes, in some cases we’re looking the wrong way through the telescope, in my view, and we’re very patronizing (disrespectful) in the delivery.
        Kyle has already acknowledged he’d take a do-over on some stuff in the SB. So has Harbaugh and Kapernick. Shrug.

              1. You also have to know when to take the heat off the fastball; you’re practicing the art of impersonation which Kaepernick does at QB if you don’t.

              2. The day after the biggest choke job in Super Bowl history was not the time to take heat off the fastball.

              3. Falling to do so has caused you to form a hit piece based on an fallacy.

              4. A columnist also needs credibility. You lose that with this kind of article. Shanahan could’ve called safer plays and secured the win, no doubt about it, but was Quinn’s headset broken?

                He’s the HC fo the Falcons, not KS. Yes, KS called the plays (if properly executed, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, btw), but Quinn is the HC. It was his ultimate responsibility to rein KS in, if that’s what was required, and he didn’t do it. He’s as culpable as KS, in regards to the play calling errors.

                You should’ve mentioned that in your article.

                Atlanta’s defense started to play scared.

                You should’ve mentioned that in your article.

                The execution of Atlanta’ offensive players caused several of the plays to blow up in the Falcons’ faces.

                You should’ve mentioned that in your article.

                You could’ve come to hit KS again after all of this, but if you’re going to write a complete commentary, you should include context. Otherwise, you come off like a jerk, as with this article.

          1. There is a balance, and I don’t think I’ll ever be quite comfortable with your personal style on that balance. Purely subjective on my part I fully admit. See,…..your Dad is too far in ‘your direction’, imo, and then there’s the generational turbo-boost in ‘smack’ to consider between you and I.
            I judge only from the perspective of a veteran reader, not as a scholar.

            1. Oh, by the way.
              I have absolutely no arguement against “No one is above reproach.”
              That is correct. Style,preferences are what they are.

              1. Ever see the movie “Sully” about the pilot who successfully landed a full wide body in the Hudson River. There’s an epic scene where the FAA is giving Sully the Grant Cohn treatment second guessing his decisions and telling him what he should have done. Sully calmly reminds all that the decisions were made during the heat of the moment by humans, not with the benefit of hindsight and in a laboratory. It reminded me then and Grant reminds me now of the famous Teddy Roosevelt quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
                whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatlyso that his place shall never be with those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” I’ll give Grant the benefit of the doubt but sometimes I’m not so sure that he knows the difference between journalism and shtick. This article is pure shtick.

              2. >>I enjoy ruffling your feathers :)

                The blog’s author admitting he’s a troll. That’s rare, even in this internet day and age.

              3. OK all this was cute until the silly “can’t handle it” remark. That’s a Seb Quality point of view.
                Can’t handle it? I am denouncing your writing style in this case. It’s rude, and I’m not exactly a lone wolf in my dissent. I don’t expect to change you and your choice of style; you don’t seem to care how it reflects on you. Also Seb-like. So now you declare victory…also Seb-like.
                Every single tactical point from the game can be analyzed without employing the distasteful patronizing approach you chose. Tone matters (see also: Trump, Donald J.)

              4. Try again, Grant.

                “I enjoy ruffling your feathers”

                In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who [b]sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people[/b], by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) [b]with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2][/b] or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion,[3] often for the troll’s amusement.

              5. >>I enjoy certain posters’ sensitivity, including yours.

                Living in New York City for longer than you have been alive has desensitized myself more than you can imagine.

                However it has helped me recognize weaselly dweebs.

      2. Perspective and evidence are two entirely different things. The visual evidence from the drives and plays in question shows that the players on the Falcons offense failed to execute or made bad decisions. The evidence also shows the Falcons defense failed to close the deal in the closing minutes.

        Facts > Perspective

        1. The visual evidence also shows Shanahan continued calling deep shots when all he needed was first downs. He was throwing hay makers and he exposed his chin. Goodnight.

          1. Please. That is a weak argument and you know it. If the players such as Freeman (who thinks he should be paid like a top back) and Ryan would have executed or made better decisions on the plays with a positive result, then the talk would be about how much of a offensive genius Shanahan was, like what you are doing with McDaniels.

              1. Evidence please. I have presented mine on another page. Prove this ridiculous claim of bad play-calling that irrational fans, blowhard ex-athletes, and the sports media is spewing.

  12. You wanted this guy from the beginning and now you are dumping all over him. You have no business being a journalist. You’re better suited as a tabloid writer. Please just go away.

      1. You’re right, nobody is above reproach. But you’ve gone way past reproach, haven’t you, Grant?

        It’s true, Shanahan was a central figure in the Falcons coughing up the game, but there were many others who gagged as badly, or worse. For you to talk about KS as if he’s the only person who is responsible for the Falcons blowing the SB at best isn’t fair, and at worst is smarmy and cynical.

  13. The only SB ad this year that did anything for me was the Stranger Things 2 promo. Got so excited when I heard the theme music :)

  14. I agree that Shanahan deserves most of the blame, but Ryan and Quinn also earned their share. Even putting aside the argument about the 5 and 7 step drops, the Falcons still had the game in their pocket. At 28-20, 3 runs and a FG should be a no brainer. I even posted that on social media at the time. “3 runs, kick the FG!” I couldn’t believe that Ryan went to a deep drop on 2nd down. Some will say “stay aggressive,” or that it was Ryan’s fault for not getting rid of the ball.

    It was Shanahan’s fault in two ways: 1. A pass should never have been called in that situation. 2. Ryan’s only weakness is his pocket awareness and Shanahan is aware of this (Or he should be). That’s why Ryan fumbled on the previous series. On his fumble, he held the ball forever, while the pocket was collapsing around him. He was hit and he fumbled, and the defender didn’t even come from the blind side! Talk about playing into New England’s hands! Haven’t we seen it happen again and again with Matt Ryan over the years?

    Quinn gets the blame for bad clock management. He was very casual with the use of his timeouts. The emphasis should have been on running the ball more in the 2nd half, to keep the clock moving and in order to give the Falcons defense more of a rest. Quinn also should have vetoed the pass that led to the sack. 3 runs, kick the FG! At 31-20, the Pats could have made it 31-28 and be forced to try an onside kick with less than a minute left. (I’m assuming that they would have taken less time to score, knowing that they were down 2 scores). I heard somewhere that Shanahan had complete autonomy in his playcalling. It will be interesting to see if Quinn ever allows his OC to have that again.

    I don’t blame the Falcon’s defense at all. They were just on the field WAY too long. The Patriots have won two Superbowls in the last 3 years because of boneheaded play calls by the OC’s. Now I have to listen to “Brady is the greatest QB of all time!”

      1. I know it, Grant! I wish that I could pin it all on Ryan but I can’t. A pass should never have been called in that situation. I was beginning to get hopeful about the 49ers future. Now I’m having doubts. I just hope that KS learned a valuable lesson from this and on some other team’s time and dime!

  15. Right on the money Grant. Up 8 at the 23 with time running out you run the dang ball, kick the field goal and go up 2 scores. Shanahan got cute and was burned.

    1. In Hindsight we all agree with that, I think the condescending way little Cohny writes is what is offensive (no pun intended)

  16. Little Cohny nothing ever changes in your world! You are always crying about something. Yes please school Kyle Shanahan on offensive football strategy. He sucks. His running scheme is not effective and his passing scheme is not diverse. Falcons just got lucky for putting up one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. He was just purely lucky for becoming the assistant coach of the year. By the way Kyle Shanahan single handedly give the patriots 25 points. He also was responsible for the sacks and the key fumble! In my world glass is not always half empty regard less of the past few seasons there is hope for us niner fans. You are simply ridiculous

  17. I submit to you, on that the first down play that lost yardage, it should have been a play action pass to the post for a TD, but they ran into the teeth of the defense. It was a cascading series of events, and Murphy’s Law manifested itself. Atlanta had several opportunities to win, but just could not find that last ounce of effort or those few inches which would have put them over the top.

    Blame should be handed out all around, but we also need to acknowledge that Brady was clutch, and Bellichick was masterful. Sure reminded me of that 2012 NFCC Game, when they built up a lead, but could not stop the Niners.

    Oh, how I wish that KS could have won going away, so he would start with that winning edge. But of course, its the Niners, and good news is hard to come by. Looks like KS will be limping in instead of strutting in.

    That is fine. Now he will not have over exuberant expectations. Now everyone will still take the Niners lightly, so maybe they can sneak up on folks. Unfortunately, the Niners do not need to feign weakness.

    Hopefully, now that Baalke is gone, and Paraag stuck his foot in his mouth and will sent to Sacto, the Niners can start to build that winning system. KS will learn and grow from this loss, so he will not repeat it.

  18. Grant you are such a downer. The glass is always half empty to you, you look for flaws, you degrade everybody you can, probably because you were raised that way or have to chop everyone down so you can stand taller. People like you make lousy friends, lousy reporters, and just plain lousy people to listen to….

    1. Half empty? Are you kidding? With Grant, the glass is not only empty, it was never full, or even partially full at any point in its miserable existence. In fact, it’s the most poorly designed and manufactured cup in the history of cups. It’s such a lousy excuse for a cup, it should be smashed and then ground into powder. That’s more of a Grant style take.

  19. Good Lord Grant…are you always such a misery merchant? I know you are smarter than every coach you have ever written about, (we all recall your warm feelings for Jim Harbaugh). There were many things that could have led to the decisions you so loudly decry but I doubt that stupidity is even in the top 100. And your prediction of lose, lose, lose, seems harsh even by your pessimistic standards. You are useless as a source of information if you do nothing but belittle and castigate. You really should set higher standards for yourself. Being the perpetual naysayer is a hopeless way to live. Grant that, surprising as it might be there, is at least a chance that this could be a good choice. We’llhave to wait and see.

  20. Putting aside the truly tasteless headline that sets a new low for 49er coverage, Grant makes a couple of interesting points. But please explain how the OC is responsible for 3 successive defensive holding calls that led to a Patriots TD or Brady’s 466 yards on 43 completions. On the plus side, Shanny produced the league leading, best offence the Falcons have ever had and got them to the Super Bowl. Then the Falcons got out in front by 25 points early in the third quarter against one of the best coached teams in our lifetimes. And he’s just 37. So maybe “little Shanny” deserves a bit of respect and support from the community for whose team he was just anointed head coach. Chip Kelly, Jim Tomsula, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Mariucci, Mike Singletary and several other 49er head coaches in between them didn’t have those kinds of accomplishments when they got the job. So shame in you Grant Cohn for one of the worst and most undeserved greetings for our new head coach.

  21. Jeez Grant, maybe you should get in there and show us how it’s done, instead of just taking over for your daddy writing about sports.

    1. Yep, “Matty Ice” is starting to become a sadly ironic nickname. Apparently, Ryan got the nickname, not from having “ice water in his veins”, but rather because he drank a s—t ton of Natural Ice Beer at Boston College.

  22. Good read, Grant.

    Shanahan has the luxury of an offseason to see how Bill Walsh attacked a Bellichek D, as well as other top OC’s around the league.

    He, like all good coaches will review Bellicheck’s halftime adjustments in the offseason and adjust accordingly…Don’t confuse him with Niner coaches past where no in game adjustments were the rule of the day, and post game go to line for the press was: “I’ll have to check the tape.

    Shanahan will be fine. He’s a young coach, with a plethora of bright, young minded college OC’s and NFL assistants listed on his rolodex–a phone call away—like our new Vice President of Player Personnel–Adam Peters….Not a bad first hire, huh ?

  23. Lynch counts Elway as one of his best friends, and Elway gave permission for Peters to speak with the 49ers. Lynch spent part of the 2013 offseason learning from Elway, a fellow Stanford graduate. Lynch attended the scouting combine with the Broncos and was also in their draft room.

    During that time, Lynch presumably got to know Peters, a Cupertino native who has spent the past eight seasons with the Broncos as the assistant director of college scouting (2014-15) and a scout (2009-13). Peters was a scout with the Patriots from 2003-08. Peters attended Monta Vista High School and was a defensive end at UCLA.

  24. Nice job Grant. I was looking forward for some genius coming and and getting the Niners off the destruction of the franchise wagon, with a new potential offensive juggernaut and a real GM! All I can say, is that there was no spontaneous thinking with the score and what should have been called. I feel for the Falcon fans, and now, for the hire, well uhhhh…..

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