By Amy Tennery
MIAMI (Reuters) – Steeped in the world of American football since childhood, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said a shared mentality among players, coaches and personnel has been fundamental in leading his team to the NFL’s biggest stage.
Speaking to reporters at the Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday, the 40-year-old said changing the culture at the 49ers was his top priority when he was hired in 2017 after the team struggled through back-to-back losing seasons.
“My biggest thing was, we’re going bring in people who are committed to football, who have wanted to be a player in the NFL because they’ve been passionate about it,” said Shanahan, who led the team to a 13-3 season this year.
“I wanted to bring in all likeminded people.”
Shanahan said he spent most of his childhood learning from his father, longtime NFL coach Mike Shanahan, who brought home three Super Bowl rings — two as head coach of the Denver Broncos and one as offensive coordinator for the 49ers.
“Every Sunday with my mom, we watched football. Every Saturday I played it,” said Shanahan. “I was a ball boy for people like Jerry Rice and Joe Montana and John Elway and got to go to a lot of Super Bowls growing up.”
But even with that upbringing he said there was no pressure for him to carry on his father’s legacy — if anything, the opposite was the case.
“I’ve been around it my whole life, it’s not like my parents tried to talk me into coaching,” he said. “They always tried to talk me out of it.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)