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Kyle Shanahan Reflects on Second Super Bowl as a Head Coach and NFL Journey

As San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan prepares to coach in a third Super Bowl, his second as a head coach, he's had the opportunity to reflect on a lifetime filled with football because of his father, three-time Super Bowl coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan's father won back-to-back titles as head coach with the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII and was an offensive coordinator for the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX.

He took a look back at his coaching roots in his first press conference of Super Bowl LVIII week.

"Being a coach's son, I was very fortunate to just be around it so much, and especially at the NFL level," Shanahan said. "My dad went to the NFL when I was four years old, so being around it almost my whole life, you don't realize how much it helps you until you get in it. You realize a lot of the stuff you've been around makes it a little easier."

Shanahan's rise up the NFL's coaching ladder has been a 20-year journey that began with an offensive quality control assistant gig with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004. Six organizations later, Shanahan has solidified himself as one of the offensive geniuses of the game and is currently tied for the fourth-longest tenured head coach with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott, all of whom have been in their respective positions for seven seasons.

Shanahan originally had his sights set on being a player in the league before discovering his passion for coaching.

"I remember a ride in eighth grade, telling (Mike Shanahan) how I wanted to play professional sports, I wanted to earn a scholarship and which sport should I try," Shanahan said. "I remember him telling me on this long car ride, you just have to commit to it and do it... From that standpoint on, I was always trying to be a player, trying to get a scholarship, trying to play in college, things like that.

"I think once my fifth year hit and the reality of what it was as a player hit, then I started to think about it, I was like, 'You know, what? I want to coach. I don't want to stop being around football right now.' And I think, I've actually been working at this my whole life because it's a little bit easier than playing, and it just kind of naturally happened."

Shanahan's second shot at a Super Bowl title against the same team is nothing short of historic. By playing in a rematch of Super Bowl LIV, Shanahan and Kansas City head coach Andy Reid will become just the fourth head coach duo to face each other in multiple Super Bowls. There's a tremendous amount of respect there for what Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes have built over the last seven seasons.

"Andy's done it for so long and always had success going all the way back to Philly," Shanahan said. "He's always been so tough to go against and just how he spreads it around, the formations. He's always changing and staying on top of stuff. Then you give him the type of quarterback that he has and it's definitely not a coincidence on how many games they've won together and how they seem to be in this situation every year."

The 49ers have been playoff regulars since their 2019 Super Bowl run, but have fallen short in their two previous NFC Championship Game appearances. In this breakthrough season, Shanahan and the 49ers have one goal left for the 2023 campaign.

"Everything is trying to get to the last week, and we did get to this last week," Shanahan said. "This will be our last Tuesday, Friday will be our last practice and Sunday will be our last game. You're always hoping you're the team that wins that last game. That's our goal this week."

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