SANTA CLARA — Even though the 49ers play on Christmas night, Kyle Shanahan shared that the standard protocol of spending the night before a game in the team hotel remains in place.
“I think it's very good that we have a rule that you have to stay in the hotel the night for the game,” Shanahan said on Saturday. “I get the people who will get probably a lot of stuff from their wives and everything. But, I've spent those nights at home before and you think you're going to finish that dollhouse fast, and it takes about three hours and all of a sudden it's three in the morning.”
Rest is one of the most important factors in a player’s performance and the head coach is not bothered if anyone is upset with him about it. Shanahan understands the pressure families can place on players and does not mind being the scapegoat.
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Players still do have time on Christmas morning to spend with their families before reporting to the stadium for the game.
“It's good that they don't have that option,” Shanahan said. “Everyone can be upset with me. But, I do think it's cool that we play a night game. Whenever those guys get up, they do have time to go home and see people real quick. So, if they have some young kids and everything if they want to do that, that's fine. That helps.”
Shanahan remembers being on the other side of said protocol in 1993 when the 49ers played the Houston Oilers on Christmas afternoon at Candlestick Park. At the age of 14, Kyle’s father, Mike, was the offensive coordinator under head coach George Seifert.
“I was complaining that I had to wait until that night to open up presents,” Shanahan recalled.
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“We all love Christmas. We all love spending time with our families and all that, but we play on Christmas this year. It is what it is. We’ve been real lucky the last few years.
“I feel like it’s just worked out the way where we’ve had Christmas off as a whole building I want to say like the last four years in a row. I think two years ago we played on the 23rd on Thursday and got the whole weekend off. Last year, I think we played on Saturday, got the whole day off. This year we play on Christmas. We’re going to take care of business and have a lot more fun doing that.”
Shanahan is hopeful this Christmas goes better for his family than when he was hiding on the sidelines as a teenager and the 49ers lost to the Oilers 10-7.