As his team prepares for the NFC Championship game this upcoming weekend, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan surely has other matters on his mind.
According to a report from NFL Media’s Mike Silver, Shanahan will likely accept the San Francisco 49ers’ head coaching job when Atlanta’s season ultimately comes to a conclusion.
According to sources familiar with both parties, it is almost certain that Kyle Shanahan will accept the 49ers' multi-year offer to be HC
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 18, 2017
This shouldn’t necessarily come as much of a surprise. Both Josh McDaniels and Tom Cable, the other two known candidates for the job, dropped out from contention over the past couple days. It also seems to be apparent that San Francisco was honing in on Shanahan the entire time.
While the 49ers have received justifiable criticism for their front office issues in the past, it appears that they got this process right. The team didn’t limit itself to candidates on other squads that were eliminated from the playoffs early or missed the postseason altogether.
Instead, they put together a list of candidates they thought were qualified and went from there. This enabled the 49ers to pretty much have the pick of the litter after every other head coaching vacancies were filled. In turn, they might have pulled off the best hiring of the bunch.
This past regular season saw Shanahan oversee the league’s top-scoring offense while helping Matt Ryan progress from mid-tier starter to MVP candidate. That’s no small accomplishment considering Ryan’s own track record.
A former offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns, this would be Shanahan’s first head coaching gig. In addition to helping Ryan progress under center in Atlanta, he oversaw the improvement we saw from Kirk Cousins in Washington.
San Francisco cannot officially announce the hiring of Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. That could come as early as Sunday in the NFC Championship game. Then again, the team might have to wait until after the Super Bowl.
While that would put the 49ers behind the proverbial eight-ball in regards to a staff, Shanahan himself has a laundry list of coaches he’s worked with in the past.