Once in a while, the rumor mill spins and churns out a name whose presence simply doesn’t make sense.
Like … what’s the deal with the buzz surrounding 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and a possible lack of job security. Shanahan signed a six-year extension in June 2020 and is just one season removed from leading San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance. His offenses are commonly revered as innovative. The Shanahan play designs have made household names of otherwise unexpected playmakers. Jimmy Garoppolo got PAID operating in the Shanahan scheme. I mean, what’s not to like?
Well, apparently, plenty? Or, at least, enough to make his future in San Francisco look a bit hazy:
decided to look up which coaches have better career winning percentages than kyle shanahan. not disappointed pic.twitter.com/dtJIFsEwyE
— explaining “dragula” lyrics on genius (@Yelix) November 7, 2021
I am no longer 100% confident that Kyle Shanahan survives this season.
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) November 7, 2021
marc trestman with yeezys proves once again that it takes more to be a head coach than calling plays. https://t.co/kXbmgmhCpK
— KP (@KP_Show) November 8, 2021
I wrote about the two men running a sinking ship in San Francisco: Kyle Shanahan the offensive designer, and Kyle Shanahan the personnel executive.
One got the 49ers to the Super Bowl. The other is actively keeping them from another one.
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 10, 2021
Niners been a depressing nightmare shitshow since the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. Just an unbelievable fall from grace for Kyle Shanahan. And I was his biggest apologist. I don’t know what else to say.
— Sean Jordan (@BaySean) November 8, 2021
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports calls the Niners the most disappointing team in football. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wonders when the seat will get hot for Shanahan, as well Niners GM John Lynch. ESPN’s Dan Graziano ponders if a fourth losing season in five years could be problematic for Shanahan’s future.
And part of me is wondering if an unexpected opportunity is emerging from thin air.
No team has been bit by the injury bug like the Niners. And it’s not as if GM John Lynch has done Shanahan many favors. After all, Lynch passed on drafting Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the first round in 2017. He would also go on to trade the pick the would ultimately be used to take Alvin Kamara to the Saints in that same draft. And while we’re stilll looking at early returns, the juice around Justin Fields has Bears fans buzzing while Niners fans are left wondering if/when Trey Lance will play again. There’s something not right about what’s happening in the Bay Area. And if it keeps up, it could lead to a parting of ways. Should it go down like that, the Bears would be wise to keep an open mind when it comes to a possible future coaching hunt.
To be clear, part of me is uncomfortable discussing a job that isn’t even open yet. Moreover, I don’t really feel great about talking around the possibility of a coach who is employed by another team being a fit for the Bears in the future. However, this is the time of year when that chatter begins surfacing. And wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we weren’t spending time during the Bears’ bye week exploring available options that could make this team better, even if it’s something as down the line as a possible coaching change. Especially when there’s been a fair amount of chatter hinting at changes on the horizon depending on if things go south with this team.
In the end, I can’t help but look at the Shanahan situation and be intrigued. Surely, it’s a long-shot. An off-the-board option for a position that is currently filled. But stranger things have happened. And with that in mind, we should keep an open mind about what the future holds.