Hall of Famer Steve Young: 49ers' Kyle Shanahan made one decision in Super Bowl LIV that didn't 'make sense'
One decision in the Super Bowl didn't make any sense to Steve Young
The last time the San Francisco 49ers won a Super Bowl came during the 1994 season when Steve Young was their starting quarterback. Although the 49ers had a chance to end their 25-year Super Bowl drought this season, they came up just short in a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
As a former 49ers player who happens to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Young is in a unique position: Not only does he understand what a quarterback might be going through on the field, but he understands what a quarterback could be going through mentally in a monstrous game like the Super Bowl.
After taking a few days to digest the game, Young still seems befuddled by one decision the 49ers made in the Super Bowl and that was Kyle Shanahan's decision to not call a timeout near the end of the first half.
For the most part, Shanahan coached a good game for the 49ers, but his decision not to take a timeout is one that has been questioned non-stop since the end of the game. From Young's point of view, the decision didn't make any sense, and that's because it made it seem like Shanahan didn't have any trust in his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.
"I think [Garoppolo] and Kyle have to work on their dance step," Young said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "The thing before halftime doesn't make sense to me. If I was the quarterback, and you just let the clock drain away, what are you saying to me? That's just me."
Even John Lynch wanted to see a timeout called. As you can see below, the 49ers general manager was frantically calling for one just before halftime.
Shanahan Patrick Mahomes.by pointing out that he didn't want to give the ball back to
"You're not going to give the ball back to them no matter what in that situation," Shanahan said of the Chiefs offense. "The way (Mahomes) did that third-and-15 at the end of the game is how he does a two-minute drive. Felt extremely good with how we went. Not using the timeout there was a no-brainer."
By choosing not to take a timeout, Shanahan showed a lack of faith in his defense (that they couldn't stop Mahomes) and Garoppolo, who would have had nearly 1:40 to work with at the end of the half if the timeout had been called.
On Young's end, he understands not wanting to give the ball back to Mahomes, but he still doesn't think that justified not using a timeout. Young also believes the decision was basically a slap in the face to Garoppolo.
"I understand you want to drain a little bit of time so you don't have to give it back to Patrick Mahomes," Young said. "I get that, but how about some time for me? That tells me there's an ongoing relationship that needs to be developed, a trust maybe that needs to be worked on. Look, I always put myself on the field. How would I feel? And I would feel like, 'Hey, wait a second, put the ball in my hands.' So those two have to figure out how to continue to build off what they've done."
The good news for the 49ers is that Young sees a quarterback in Garoppolo who will only get better.
"Jimmy doesn't know his ceiling," Young said. "Just keep playing and it works itself out over time. People say, 'I know his ceiling.' No, you don't, because Jimmy doesn't even know it, and Kyle doesn't either. You can think you know, but it needs to play out."
Even if Garoppolo improves, there's no guarantee he'll ever play in another Super Bowl. Although Young would reach the postseason four more times after that 1994 Super Bowl win, he never made it back to the game. If Shanahan and Garoppolo never make it back together, then not calling the timeout could be something that the 49ers coach will eventually regret down the road.
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