After the Kansas City Chiefs scored the go-ahead touchdown in overtime on Sunday, the top question on the mind of NFL fans was why the 49ers decided to receive the ball, instead of letting the Chiefs go first and responding. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after Super Bowl LVIII that the team made the decision earlier in the week.
They wanted to have the opportunity to possess the ball third in the instance that both the 49ers and Chiefs scored field goals or if they both scored touchdowns on their first possession. Had Brock Purdy scored a touchdown on their first possession, it may have forced Kansas City to score and go for two instead of going to a sudden death situation on a third possession, but Shanahan wanted the ball in case of sudden death.
“It’s just something we talked about,” Shanahan said post-game. “None of us have a ton of experience with it. But we went through all the analytics and talked to those guys. We just thought it would be better. We wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win. So got that field goal, so knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal and if we did, we thought it was in our hands after that.”
The NFL updated the postseason overtime rules after Bills quarterback Josh Allen was denied a chance to respond during a heated playoff matchup against the Chiefs in 2021. The new rules went into effect last season.
The 49ers ended up kicking a field goal instead of trying to go for it on fourth and four from the Kansas City nine-yard line. All Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs had to do was answer, which they did on a three-yard pass to Mecole Hardman.
Hardman predicted Super Bowl victory over the 49ers
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman is going viral again following the team’s victory for his correct prediction from August that he would be playing, and beating, the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Hardman was a test subject for Oz Pearlman, a.k.a. the Mentalist, during the New York Jets’ appearance on Hard Knocks this summer. During his mentalism session, the former Jet predicted that his team would face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, and win 31-21.
Hardman may not have been able to predict that he’d wind up back with the Kansas City Chiefs due to a trade after just five games with the Jets, but he did correctly guess that he would be back in the Super Bowl and that his opponent would be San Francisco.
Between his trade from New York back to Kansas City and the Super Bowl, Hardman made 17 catches for 129 yards and had no scores. It was the least productive year of his career yet, but with his touchdown in overtime, it’s become another career year. He ended the win against the 49ers with three catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.