As other head coach vacancies around the league have been filled, the San Francisco 49ers are the last team standing. San Francisco wants to bring in Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to fill that role, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Niners parted ways with former head coach Chip Kelly after just one season in San Francisco. Also jettisoned was general manager Trent Baalke. San Francisco was looking for change yet again after finishing the 2016 season with just two wins, but this organization lacks stability.
After forcing Jim Harbaugh out following the 2014 season, San Francisco had Jim Tomsula in the head coach role for one season, then ousted him and brought in Kelly. Kelly kind of made sense for the Niners’ offense because of the way Colin Kaepernick could fit in his scheme, but Kaepernick didn’t even start until the season was well underway, and the team still kept losing.
Shanahan was asked during the team’s playoff bye week if he would jump at any head coaching opportunity.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
Shanahan is happy in Atlanta, and he certainly has more talent to work with offensively than he would have in San Francisco. That said, Shanahan is ready to be a head coach, and it’s understandable that it’s a goal of his.
"It's definitely not something that I have to do. I love it here and love the situation here. I love the team here. There's no one better I could work for,” Shanahan said. “My family loves living here. So, by no means is it something that has to get done. But that's a goal of most people in our profession, and I'd be surprised if most people didn't tell you they were ready.''
Shanahan does have a history with San Francisco. His father, Mike, was the Niners’ offensive coordinator from 1992 through 1994.
The Niners initially interviewed Shanahan for the head coach role during Atlanta’s bye week in the Wild Card round. Teams are only permitted to interview a coach whose team is still in the playoffs once during that interval. An exception will be if the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl.
Because there’s a two-week span between Championship Weekend and the Super Bowl, the Niners would be permitted to interview Shanahan once more during that interval. They cannot, however, interview Shanahan after the Falcons depart for Houston. Any additional interview has to take place between the conference championship and the team arriving in the Super Bowl host city.