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Niners' Kyle Shanahan explains decision to receive overtime kickoff in Super Bowl loss: 'We just thought it would be better'

Kyle Shanahan's decision to receive the ball first after winning the overtime coin toss is under a microscope in the aftermath of Super Bowl LVIII.

In years past, receiving the ball first was a no-brainer as the team who scored the first overtime touchdown would win the game. That's still true in today's regular-season format, but postseason OT rules were modified ahead of the 2022 season to ensure both teams got a possession in the extra frame.

The San Francisco 49ers head coach defended his decision following Sunday's 25-22 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

"It's just something we talked about," Shanahan said. "None of us have a ton of experience with it. But we went through all the analytics and talked to those guys. We just thought it would be better. We wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win. Got that field goal, so knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal, and if we did, then we thought it was in our hands after that."

Shanahan added that the decision had been predetermined ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.

San Francisco marched down the field to begin the extra frame but settled for a field goal after getting all the way to the Chiefs' 9-yard line. Knowing what's needed to stay alive on their guaranteed possession was the theoretical advantage for Kansas City under the playoff OT format, especially when it comes to fourth-down decisions.

The Chiefs were faced with such a call during their OT possession, drawing up a perfect play that saw Patrick Mahomes gain 8 yards untouched on fourth-and-1 from their own 42-yard line. Mahomes and Co. proceeded to score the game-winning touchdown nine plays later.

"It was two real good teams. It went back and forth throughout the whole game," Shanahan said. "Both teams played their asses off. They got it done."

The loss extended San Francisco's Super Bowl losing streak to three, two of which coming during Shanahan's seven-year tenure. Both of those defeats came with the 49ers owning fourth-quarter leads, but the latest one has proverbial what-ifs surrounding his OT decision in the aftermath.

"We'll take some time. We'll get over this," Shanahan said. "And come back next year ready to go."

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