In his third season as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Kyle Shanahan, has led the franchise to become the top seed in the NFC playoffs. After defeating the Minnesota Vikings, the 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54 on February 1, and cheering on Shanahan at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, will be his wife of 15 years, Mandy Shanahan.
Mandy, who first started dating Shanahan in high school, has been through some extreme highs and lows watching her husband coach in primetime. It’s only been three years since Shanahan last brought a team to the Super Bowl, and it was game that ended in disastrous fashion.
Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons when the team faced off against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017. The Falcons somehow squandered a 25 point lead and then lost the game in overtime after allowing Brady and the Patriots to stomp all over them in the second half.
Two weeks after that stunning loss, Mandy, who married Shanahan in 2005, and with whom she shares three children, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the aftermath weathered on the entire family. “Kyle’s been one of the most sensitive people I’ve ever been around, in a good way,” she said. “He’s so in tune with people’s emotions and how people feel.”
During a press conference, Shanahan expressed that he knows exactly what it’s like being a die-hard cheerleader of the 49ers. He described how intense it was being a dedicated fan even as a kid. When his father Mike Shanahan was coaching the 49ers, he wore the same Deion Sanders jersey for “a month and 10 days” in hopes it brought the team good luck.
“I was dedicated,” Shanahan said. “I felt like I couldn’t do school for that month because I had to get a good night’s sleep before the games, and things like that. I was just so, 100-percent [into] the Niners and the playoffs at that time. I can remember it like it was yesterday, and it’s funny to watch my wife be like that kind of right now. My kids aren’t as old as I was, but they’re getting close.”
In 2017, reporters askedJimmy Garappolo if he knew that Mrs. Shanahan couldn’t wait for him to take the field, and it made the quarterback blush. “That’s always a good thing to hear,” Garappolo said.
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NBC analyst Chris Simms, who is close friends Shanahan, only sees a bright future ahead for his buddy. “Kyle wants to be not only one of the great coaches of right now, but I think he wants to be one of the great coaches of all-time,” said Simms, who played football with Shanahan at Texas. “I think those are the things that drive him. He grew up watching his dad do special things and win two Super Bowls. I think he looks at it like, ‘Oh, I can do that, too, and I can one-up him.’ He expects greatness from himself.”
“Kyle, he’s got guts,” Simms said. “He’s not afraid to think outside the box and invent plays that have never been run in the history of the NFL, or do something a different way that’s never been done. Most coaches are like, ‘Show me on tape 10 or 20 plays of that play.’ Kyle’s not like that. Kyle just goes, ‘No, I understand this defense, and this play will work. I don’t care that nobody else has ever run it before.’ ”