A year and some change later, the San Francisco 49ers‘ trade for running back Christian McCaffrey has been a massive success. But according to 49ers CEO Jed York, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan was weary of making the deal.
As the 2024 Super Bowl approaches, the 49ers organization is at the center of media coverage. When York was interviewed on February 1, he revealed that Shanahan initially pushed back against the move.
“Kyle Shanahan thought it was a lot to give up for a running back and I think John Lynch and I thought it was just the right amount to give up for for Christian,” York said, according to SI.com’s Grant Cohn. “…It is more that he’s focused on the defense because he knows he’s going to spend more time on the offense and I think it was just making sure that he felt comfortable knowing that it might not work but it’s a bet that we’re all willing to make.”
York equated the situation to poker, in which a player may not win everytime with a favorable hand. But San Francisco figured that it was time to gamble, and Christian McCaffrey’s contributions have been nothing short of critical.
McCaffrey Brings Incendiary Play into Playoffs
After leading the NFL in rushing yards and combined rushing and receiving touchdowns, fans wanted McCaffrey to be the difference in the playoffs. He had a solid stretch in last year’s playoff run, but expectations were even higher coming into this postseason.
He’s delivered, to say the least. The 27-year old has totaled 125+ scrimmage yards and scored twice in both games. It’s been especially crucial considering the 49ers defense hasn’t been quite as effective as Shanahan would like.
And while the Kansas City Chiefs defense has been strong in the playoffs, defending the run isn’t their strength. The Chiefs allowed an average 4.5 yards per rush this regular season, and has given up an average of 113 rushing yards per game in their three postseason victories.
49ers Star Nick Bosa Takes Aim at Chiefs
Besides York’s interesting reveal, another quote that’s catching headlines comes from Nick Bosa. The 49ers edge rusher is back in the Super Bowl for the second time of his career, and is looking for revenge for 2020.
When asked about Kansas City’s offensive line, Bosa kept it simple: “They hold a lot.”
That’s not exactly an insult, but it’s a clear call-out of how the Chiefs play ball. But for Bosa, it may not matter if they’re holding or not.
After a somewhat underwhelming 2023 campaign with 10.5 sacks, Bosa has cranked it up in the playoffs. After five QB hits and no sacks against the Green Bay Packers, Bosa got home twice against the Detroit Lions.
His two sacks were the 49ers’ only sacks of the 34-31 victory, and it ended a four-game sack drought. When Bosa was last facing the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, he did earn a sack, a forced fumble and a pass defended.
If the 49ers expect a victory, Bosa will need to bring a similar performance on February 11.
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