Mike & Kyle Shanahan Become First Ever Father-Son Duo to Lead NFL Teams to Super Bowl as Head Coaches
Eat your hearts out, Broncos Country.
Three years after taking the head-coaching job in San Francisco, Kyle Shanahan has led the Niners to the Super Bowl.
By virtue of their 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, the Niners have advanced to Super Bowl LIV to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. While Denver Broncos fans are happy to see a Shanahan once again in the big dance, it's difficult to see Kyle hoist the George Halas trophy.
Kyle could have been the head coach in Denver. But despite GM John Elway interviewing him, and Kyle himself saying it would be a dream come true to coach the Broncos, Elway ultimately chose to hire Vance Joseph in January of 2017. And the rest is history.
However, with Kyle leading the Niners to the Super Bowl, he made some NFL history that also happens to include the Broncos. Kyle and Mike Shanahan have become the first father-son duo to lead an NFL team to the Super Bowl as head coaches.
Mike did it twice in the late 1990s, leading the Broncos to victories over the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII and the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. Thanks to Mike, Elway was not only able to get the Super Bowl monkey off his back, but the head coach also made it possible for the Hall-of-Fame quarterback to ride off into the sunset as a back-to-back World Champion.
Mike Shanahan would go on to coach the Broncos until he was fired following the 2008 season. Fans who are old enough can remember seeing young Kyle on the Broncos' sidelines back in those days, watching his old man and soaking it all in.
Kyle went on to become one of the most coveted offensive coordinators in the NFL, much like his dad's career path, before finally getting his name into the head-coaching conversation in January of 2017. Kyle took over a Niners franchise in the NFL doldrums.
Three short years later, after walking the desert of back-to-back double-digit losing seasons, all of Kyle's personnel moves paid off, including the acquisition of QB Jimmy Garoppolo, with the Niners posting a 13-3 record and winning the NFC West. Now, San Francisco is headed to the Super Bowl.
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Meanwhile, speaking of wandering the NFL desert, the Broncos fired Vance Joseph almost a year ago, two seasons after he was hired, and went with defensive czar Vic Fangio as head coach. Under Fangio's purview, the Broncos had another successful draft haul in 2019, highlighted by the selection of QB Drew Lock, and would go on to post a 7-9 record in the head coach's first year.
7-9 isn't ideal and it's technically another losing season, but with Lock inserted as the starter in Week 13, the Broncos would win four of their last five games, taking a groundswell of positive momentum with them into the 2020 offseason. The feeling internally is that the Broncos have answered their two most pressing questions; finding the right head coach and landing a franchise-caliber quarterback.
It'll be fun to see how the 2020 season shakes out for Fangio, Lock and company. Meanwhile, with the hated Chiefs poised to be Kyle Shanahan's opponent in the Super Bowl, it's safe to say Broncos Country will be united under the Shanahan banner two weeks from now.