With the San Francisco 49ers on their way to the Super Bowl this year, coach Kyle Shanahan is probably hoping that things go slightly better than they did the last time he coached in the game, which basically ended up being a total disaster from start to finish. For Super Bowl LI, Shanahan was the Falcons offensive coordinator, so as you can probably imagine, he doesn’t have many fond memories of the game, which ended with the Patriots winning 34-28 in overtime after the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in the third quarter. Although the loss was the worst part of the trip, Shanahan’s nightmarish week actually started six days earlier when he attended Media Night where AND the Falcons’ .
The tickets and the game plan were in Shanahan’s backpack, which had somehow gone missing while he had been doing interviews at Media Night. During an interview this week, Shanahan was asked about these memories of that night, and well, it sounds like the wound is still fresh.
“I had almost a panic attack,” Shanahan said of losing his backpack, via quotes from the team. “It was right between my legs, I was sitting on the top part of a chair and it was between my legs. Then, when I was done talking to everybody, it wasn’t there anymore. There was a backpack there, but it wasn’t mine.”
Although his backpack contained the Falcons offensive plans for the game, Shanahan wasn’t so concerned about losing that, because all the information was encrypted on a team-issued tablet, which means it would be hard for someone to hack into. Shanahan’s bigger concern was the fact that he had no idea where his Super Bowl tickets were.
“I was panicked, not because of the game plan or anything, that’s on an iPad and you need codes to get in and stuff and we have others, so that’s not a big deal, but I had about 48 Super Bowl tickets in there that I bought for family members and everything,” Shanahan said. “I was carrying a lot of money from that, a lot of IOU’s and stuff. I was very panicked about the tickets and the cash.”
Not only was the backpack missing for nearly 90 minutes, but things got even dicier for Shanahan because the Patriots were about to arrive at Media Night. The Falcons held their session first, and the team actually ended up leaving Shanahan behind so he could keep searching for his backpack while the Patriots headed to their podiums.
“It was gone for about an hour and a half,” Shanahan said of the backpack. “The whole team left me, the Patriots came in, I was walking around there looking for my backpack frantically, running into more media people and still having to do interviews past my deal. I was trying not to come off as a jerk blowing them off, but I was panicked trying to find my backpack.”
In a very coincidental twist, the backpack had accidentally been snatched by Art Spander, a long-time columnist for the San Francisco Examiner, who is now covering Shanahan’s 49ers. Spander had a backpack that looked like Shanahan’s and had accidentally grabbed the one belonging to the 49ers coach.
“It was awkward, but Art ended up coming back with it,” Shanahan said. “I think we found it, because the backpack remaining, I eventually opened it and saw his name in there, so people tracked him down. He had it, and they tried to take it off of him and he wouldn’t give it to me at first until I showed him it was mine.”
The moral of the story is that if you see a backpack lying around at the Super Bowl, it might have $30,000 worth of tickets and an offensive gameplan in it, so please make sure it gets back to its rightful owner.