Kyle Shanahan, 37, the offensive coordinator for the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, has been a crucial part of the team’s rise to being on the verge of claiming the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl victory.
Read on to learn about Shanahan’s career, family and future.
1. Shanahan Lost a Copy of the Falcons Game Plan Earlier This Week
The days leading up to the Super Bowl are filled with opportunities for the media present to speak to everyone connected to both teams, and Shanahan hasn’t been exempted from those obligations. It was a member of the media who played a part in a temporary scare for Shanahan.
After Shanahan finished speaking with the media on Monday, his backpack, which contained a copy of the team game plan for today’s game, was nowhere to be found. After 15 minutes of both a team security agent and Shanahan frantically searching, it was discovered that one of the members of the media, the San Francisco Examiner‘s Art Spander, had mistaken Shanahan’s bag for his own among the pile of backpacks.
15 minutes after that, it was returned to Shanahan, game plan included. Shanahan should know how crucial it is to keep every advantage over your opponent possible in a Super Bowl, as he has the pedigree of a champion.
2. Shanahan is the Son of a Super-Bowl-Winning Coach
Shanahan’s father, Mike, was an assistant and head coach in the NFL for four different teams over nearly three decades. In that time, he was part of three different Super Bowl winning teams, including being the head coach for a rare back-to-back championship run.
When Mike was 32 in 1984, he became the wide receivers coach for the Denver Broncos for his first NFL assistant coaching job. Kyle was five at the time. He was promoted to offensive coordinator the following season, and spent three years in that role before becoming head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders.
After two seasons as the Raiders’ head man, Shanahan was fired and went back to Denver as the quarterbacks coach. Like his first stint with Denver as an assistant, he took back the title of offensive coordinator in the following season.
Shanahan then took the same title of offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, whom he led to a Super Bowl title in the 1994-95 season. In the following off-season, the Broncos brought him back as their head coach.
Shanahan then spent the next 14 seasons as Denver’s head coach, winning back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1997-98 and 1998-1999 seasons. After the 2008-09 season at the age of 56, Shanahan retired.
The Washington Redskins were able to coax him out of retirement after a season away from coaching to take their head coaching job. He would be in that role for the next four seasons and then was fired by Washington. While he was in Washington, he made Kyle his offensive coordinator job, and Kyle’s career path has been similar to Mike’s.
Kyle got his first NFL assistant job at a younger age than Mike did, just 25. He spent his first two seasons (2004-05 and 2005-06) as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive quality control coach, during which time he was arrested with a DUI. Kyle moved on to the Houston Texans for the following two seasons as the wide receivers coach and then the quarterbacks coach. Kyle was then promoted to Houston’s offensive coordinator, a job he kept for two seasons before being hired in the same role by his father.
Kyle was fired along with Mike in Washington, so he took the position of offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns for a season, then resigned to take the same position with the Falcons. True to the form of working for five teams in 13 seasons, it seems very possible that Shanahan could be on the move yet again.
3. The 49ers Will Offer Shanahan Their Head Coaching Job
The only NFL team without a head coach currently in place, the San Francisco 49ers, are reportedly ready to offer Shanahan the job after the Super Bowl.
It seems that Shanahan will follow his father’s footsteps yet again as multiple reports have stated that not only will the 49ers offer him the job, but he will accept as well. For fans thinking the obvious, Shanahan says that he won’t be hiring his father as an assistant.
Aside from already having been named the Assistant Coach of the Year this season, Shanahan has an impressive résumé that made him the target of many head coaching searches after the regular season ended.
Everywhere that Shanahan has ran the offense for more than one season, drastic improvement in the team’s offensive numbers have happened. In Houston, the Texans went from 21st to 11th in point differential with Shanahan. Washington improved from 26th to 11th in yardage differential in Shanahan’s tenure. This season, Atlanta was top-five in the league in several offensive categories including turnover ratio, point differential, yardage differential, total yards, total points, fewest turnovers, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, yards per rush, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and net yards per passing attempt.
4. Shanahan and Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn Were Almost Paired Together in Cleveland
After Shanahan’s lone season with Cleveland as the Browns’ offensive coordinator, he asked then-head coach Mike Pettine and team owner Jimmy Haslam to be released from the final two years of his contract. Pettine had been hired at the same time as Shanahan, and granted Shanahan his request.
When Pettine was hired away from the Buffalo Bills, he was one of two top candidates Cleveland was considering. The other was current Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn. Quinn was in Shanahan’s current shoes, however, preparing to face the New England Patriots in a Super Bowl at the time. The Browns decided not to wait until after the Super Bowl and do a second interview with Quinn despite his interest in the job, but rather go ahead and hire Pettine. Pettine has since been replaced by Hue Jackson, and Shanahan has since been working with Quinn in Atlanta, instead of Cleveland.
Browns fans will always wonder what could be, but you can’t fault Shanahan for working to be in the relationships that he wanted to be in, a trait that carries over to his love life.
5. Shanahan is Married to His High School Sweetheart
Shanahan’s wife is the former Amanda O’Donnell, who goes by Mandy. The pair met at Cherry Hills High School in Colorado and were married in 2005.
The couple has three children together; two daughters, Stella and Lexi; and a son, Carter. Shanahan also has a sister, Krystal, who was a roommate of Jenna Bush Hager at the University of Texas. Hager is the daughter of President George W. Bush. Shanahan’s mother’s name is Peggy.
It appears that Shanahan will be re-locating his family to San Francisco soon, and the 49ers hope that they will bring the success that he has had in Atlanta with him.