I was fascinated with the game theory that was presented in overtime last night. I debated whether or not the 49ers made the right call taking the ball after winning the toss with my friends immediately. At first, I didn't mind the call, the 49ers defense just was on the field for a long drive and the goal, regardless of when you get the ball, is to score a TD. However, having more information is always beneficial, hence deferring. Then, on the other side of the coin, if the team who gets the ball second matches your score in their possession, you get the ball with the chance to win.
The Chiefs have been planning for this exact situation since they came together in August:
RINGER - The Chiefs’ overtime plan worked out exactly how they had hoped—and it wasn’t by accident. Kansas City safety Justin Reid told The Ringer that the Chiefs had first discussed the new overtime rules as far back as training camp. Defensive lineman Chris Jones told me players were prepared for what to expect if the Super Bowl went to overtime.
Always fascinating to see the intricacies of the best of the best. Prepping for that moment since training camp is special stuff.
“We talked through this for two weeks,” Jones said. “How we was going to give the ball to the opponent; if they scored, we was going for two at the end of the game. We rehearsed it.”
Okay, the going-for-two question is something I was considering last night after the game. If the 49ers did score a TD……and the Chiefs went down and scored….I think the only option is to go for two. Your best chance of winning is in that moment, especially with the opposing team getting the ball back with sudden death starting.
What it ultimately comes down to is two things:
-Do you have a two-point play you absolutely love? I'd assume the 49ers do.
-Are you okay with the game in Patrick Mahomes hands?
Looking at the 49ers offensive capabilities, I would've deferred. The 2-point play you could run with McCaffrey/Deebo/Kittle/Aiyuk should be elite. Same goes for the Chiefs.
The 49ers did not do the same. Multiple San Francisco players said after the game that they were not aware that the overtime rules are different in the playoffs than they are in the regular season, and strategy discussions over how to handle the overtime period did not occur as a team. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead said he learned the details of the postseason rule when it was shown on the Allegiant Stadium jumbotron during a TV timeout after regulation. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk said he assumed the 49ers asked to receive when they won the toss because that’s what you do in the regular season, when a touchdown wins the game. “I guess that’s not the case. I don’t really know the strategy,” Juszczyk said.
This is beyond unacceptable. If I was a 49ers fan I would be livid. Biggest game of the season and you DONT KNOW THE RULES. This isn't McNabb against the Bengals either….THIS IS THE SUPER BOWL:
I'm not going to blame the players either. That's on coaching. You have to let these players know. The emotions of the game can take over and you can forget. Just another Kyle Shannahan blunder.
Speaking of decisions that were made…..I think not enough was made about the 49ers decision to kick the FG. I would've heavily considered going for it. If you didn't get it, the Chiefs would've got the ball at their 9-yard line. The 4th-down decision bot did not weigh in on this, so I'm interested to know the numbers behind it. I'm probably too aggressive with going for it on 4th, but in that situation? I would've been fine falling on your sword.