Garrett Sanders, Correspondent
Last Sunday in Miami, Florida, we witnessed one of the worst choke-jobs in sports history. Super Bowl LIV featured the two hottest teams in the National Football League, but what we saw on Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs was that no matter how aggressive one coach has shown to be, there is always a moment where they can crumble and fold.
Let’s flashback to Super Bowl LI. The Atlanta Falcons were soaring high with a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots. Everything seemed that it was over for the Patriots, but there was just one problem, Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
With the Falcons having a commanding lead, one would think that the game was over, but the Falcons failed to do three crucial things on offense: run the ball, kill the clock and not make any mistakes.
Ultimately that was the biggest mistake that Shanahan could do. Tom Brady was the hottest quarterback in the NFL. Giving him a chance to win the game was the last thing the Falcons could afford.
Yet, with epic bad play calling by Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons did just that. They choked in classic fashion and found a way to lose. What’s worse is, it was against the New England Patriots, the most hated team in America.
Now, it’s one thing to choke in the biggest stage of sports. However, who would have thought last Sunday in Miami that Kyle Shanahan would be in the exact same position he was in Super Bowl LI? And to make things worse, it was against Andy Reid, a coach known for not winning the big game.
To be fair, Andy Reid had a secret weapon, Patrick Mahomes. He and the Kansas City offense had the potential to explode at any given moment. It was up to Shanahan to do what his team had done best all year long. Finish the game. But like Super Bowl LI, Shanahan failed to learn his lesson. When you have a lead, you don’t want to give the football back to the hottest quarterback in America.
What makes things worse is that the 49ers were capable of running the ball and melting the clock to where Kansas City would not have enough time to make that comeback a reality. But, instead of doing what the 49ers do best, they did the complete opposite. This led to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense to have a chance to march down the field and take the win once and for all.
Now, I talked about how Shanahan choked this game away for the 49ers. What I did not mention was that Shanahan was not the only one who contributed to the epic collapse. While the 49ers had the lead, the NFL officiating that was displayed in the biggest event of the year was dreadful. What was supposed to be the NFL’s best, turned out to be one of the worst.
There were several bad calls made in the Super Bowl, on both sides, but there were two plays in the Super Bowl that made the difference in what could have changed the outcome.
The 49ers had a chance to put points on the board before halftime. After a series of poor clock management by Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers still had a chance to salvage the moment. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a dime to George Kittle for a long pass. It seemed as if the 49ers were going to get points after all, but, of course, that’s when everything went haywire.
The officials called an offensive pass interference call on Kittle, but when you look at the replay in slow motion, Kittle laid a fingertip on the Kansas City defender. What would have been a sure momentum changer for the 49ers only ended up being a dud.
Later in the game, down by four points, Kansas City needed a touchdown. The 49ers were playing great defense in the red zone. All they had to do was stop Kansas City four times in the goal line and the Super Bowl would be theirs. Well once again, the officiating ruined it for everybody.
The Chiefs running back Damien Williams caught a pass from Patrick Mahomes. When he caught the ball his foot landed out of bounds. But at the same time Williams stretched the ball which looked as if it had crossed the plane. The referee ruled it a touchdown.
Of course, all scoring plays in the national football league are automatically reviewed. This was no exception. When you look at the replay in slow motion, when William stretches the ball, the tip of the ball was half an inch short from the goal line. With the NFL putting in the best officials in all of what they had to offer, you would think they would make the right call.
Ultimately, the officials deemed that there was not enough video evidence to overturn the call, so it was ruled a touchdown. After all of what happened, San Francisco waved the white towel and it was over.
Kansas City did everything wrong for the first three and a half quarters, but with poor play-calling by Kyle Shanahan and the incompetence of the NFL officiating, they won their second Super Bowl. The final score ended up being 31-20. At the Lombardi trophy presentation, it was also announced that Patrick Mahomes ended up being the Super Bowl MVP.
When one talks about Super Bowls, you want it to be an exciting moment, but with the way the NFL is producing these “entertaining” games, it’s slowly becoming unwatchable. With the recent Super Bowls that have happened, we are starting to see a pattern as fans.
While the NFL knows the media is about having the biggest headline, what they are doing is ruining the game of football. It is only a matter of time where enough is enough. What we can only hope for is that the future of the NFL will produce better Super Bowls in the upcoming years. However, at the end of the day, we are just fans.