The 49ers Taking the Ball To Start Overtime Was Still the Right Call

In the aftermath of Kyle Shanahan blowing yet another double-digit lead in a Super Bowl, much has been made of the 49ers electing to take the ball first in overtime even though both teams now get a possession, even if the team who receives scores a touchdown. With the Chiefs getting the ball only down a field goal, they obviously knew what they needed and could strategize accordingly, leading most people to assert that taking the ball first was the wrong call.

It wasn't.

The most obvious reason you take the ball is that if both teams score either two touchdowns or kick two field goals, you now have the first possession is what is then a sudden-death game. That is invaluable. And if the 49ers were able to hold the Chiefs to a field goal to send the game to sudden death, nobody would have been questioning the decision to take the ball first. At the end of the day, you're going to have to get a stop one way or the other.

Additionally, it allows you at least a little room for error in regards to turning the ball over, too. If you get down to the red zone and fumble, you now at least have a chance to make a stop and get the ball back whereas if you turn the ball over on your possession after allowing even just a field goal, the game is over.

And even disregarding the entire strategy of it all, the San Francisco defense had just completed a 12- and an 11-play drive in the final 6:00 of the game. If Shanahan threw them out there to start overtime and they got torched by Mahomes all the way down the field, he would have gotten killed for that decision, too.

The 49ers had an opportunity to score a touchdown and couldn't do it. I'm all for giving Shanahan his rightful share of blame every time he blows another Super Bowl, but taking the ball was the right decision. He just also had to give it to Patrick Mahomes at some point.