Kyle Shanahan

Why Whitner believes Shanahan, 49ers destined to win Super Bowl LVIII

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With the 49ers entering the NFL playoffs as favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII, the Vince Lombardi Trophy is coach Kyle Shanahan's to lose.

But NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Donte Whitner believes the stars have aligned perfectly for Shanahan to deliver San Francisco its sixth championship, as he shared on the latest edition of "Hitner's Hot Take."

"This year, head coach Kyle Shanahan had his best coaching year ... and I truly believe that this is the year that he brings home the Lombardi," Whitner said Sunday after the 49ers' regular-season finale loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

San Francisco (12-5) secured the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed in Week 17 and now will enjoy a first-round bye during Super Wild Card Weekend before welcoming a to-be-determined opponent for a divisional-round contest at Levi's Stadium on either Jan. 20 or Jan. 21.

Should Shanahan and the 49ers make it all the way to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and win the Super Bowl, San Francisco's coach and his father, Mike Shanahan, would become the NFL's first father-son head-coaching duo to each win a championship. Mike won back-to-back Super Bowl titles as coach of the Denver Broncos during the 1997 and '98 seasons, while Shanahan lost as 49ers coach to conclude the 2019 campaign.

Whitner is optimistic in Shanahan's chance to make history with a Super Bowl win, he explained, because of quarterback Brock Purdy and the 49ers' treasure chest of offensive weapons.

"I say that because this is the first year that Kyle has truly had the offense the way that he envisioned it," Whitner continued, noting the versatility of wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, the matchup issues created by running back Christian McCaffrey and the blocking, pass-catching duality of tight end George Kittle.

At the center of it all is Purdy, as the 49ers' offense now serves as the team's catalyst after years of defensive dominance.

"The determining factor is Brock Purdy," Whitner said. "This is the first time in Kyle Shanahan's career as head coach and offensive coordinator that he has truly been happy with his quarterback. Not only can Brock Purdy throw the football on time, make the proper decisions and take care of the football, but he also has that gene to be able to extend plays.

"And this is also the first year that Kyle Shanahan is entering the playoffs totally dependent upon his offense ... If Brock Purdy and the 49ers' offense can continue their explosive ways, score touchdowns, take care of the football and the defense gets takeaways, I truly believe that this is the year that Kyle Shanahan cements himself amongst the great head coaches in NFL history."

Ahead of his fourth playoff appearance in the 49ers' last five seasons, Shanahan certainly has accomplished enough to establish himself among San Francisco's best coaches. A Super Bowl victory would add to that legacy, and Whitner believes it's in the cards.

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