In their bid to draw level with the Patriots and Steelers with a historic victory, the Niners were on top for large portions of the game, but ultimately fell short after a trademark clutch performance from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
After the scores were locked at 19-19 at the end of regulation time, San Francisco won the toss and opted to receive the ball in overtime, despite the fact Kansas City would earn a right of reply regardless of whether or not the 49ers scored a touchdown or field goal.
And in a surprise development, multiple players from the losing side reportedly didn’t know the overtime rules were different in the playoffs compared to regular-season fixtures, while the Chiefs had plenty of knowledge and experience in that situation.
In NFL regular season games, a touchdown in overtime would end the game, while in the Super Bowl a touchdown results in the opposing team getting a right of reply.
Speaking to media post-game, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan admitted there were plenty of options floated heading into the crucial period of the Super Bowl.
“None of us have a ton of experience with it,” he said.
“We decided it would be better getting the ball because if both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones to have a chance to go win it.
“We got that field goal. We knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal. If we did, we thought it was in our hands after that.”
Unfortunately, with just a few seconds remaining, Mahomes threw the ball to Mecole Hardman in the endzone, breaking the hearts of the 49ers in brutal fashion.
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But in a shock twist, one of Shanahan’s own players publicly outed the coaching staff and the team’s lack of clarity over the decision.
During his own presser, fullback Kyle Juszczyk admitted the Niners “never talked about” what they would do at the toss if the clash with the Chiefs went the distance.
“I didn’t even realise that the playoff rules were different in overtime,” he said.
“I assumed you just want the ball because you score a touchdown and win, but I guess that’s not the case.
“I don’t totally know the strategy there … we haven’t talked about it.”
San Francisco will continue to rue multiple missed moments from the contest in Las Vegas, while its opponents celebrate a second-straight NFL title.