With about six minutes left in the 49ers’ NFC championship game victory over the Packers, San Francisco faced a third-and-3 from near midfield. Head coach Kyle Shanahan dialed up a play that called for George Kittle to run a short out route. Shanahan knew Green Bay cornerback Will Redmond, who weighs 65 pounds less than Kittle, would have a tough time legally defending the star tight end. Redmond was going to impede Kittle and get called for holding or pass interference. Shanahan knew it. And so he told side judge Eugene Hall exactly what was going to happen.
The moment was captured on video by NFL Films.
“Flag on an out route, 85 versus their guy,” Shanahan told Hall. “He’s gonna go inside and break out and [Redmond] won’t let him out. Watch.”
Sure enough, Redmond mugged Kittle before and after the pass was thrown. It was a clear pass interference penalty and Hall threw his flag.
It’s one thing for a coach to lobby an official for a penalty after the fact, but to be so in touch with the game that you know ahead of time when a penalty is about to occur is something else.