49ers players didn't know OT rules before Super Bowl
Multiple San Francisco 49ers players admitted they weren't aware of the playoff overtime rules and that the team didn't strategize for extra time ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl LVIII.
"I didn't even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me," 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead said after losing 25-22 to the Kansas City Chiefs, according to ESPN. "I didn't even really know what was going on in terms of that."
Niners fullback Kyle Juszczyk said he believed the club decided to receive the ball first after winning the overtime coin toss because that's how teams attack it in the regular season.
"I guess that's not the case. I don't really know the strategy," Juszczyk said postgame, per Lindsay Jones of The Ringer.
The new playoff overtime format guarantees both teams a chance to possess the ball. If the clubs match scores on their first drives, the first team to get the next point wins. In the regular season, the game ends if a team scores a touchdown on the first overtime drive.
The 49ers kicked a field goal on their opening possession of Sunday's overtime. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the offense followed up with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to win the game.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said potentially having the ball third is why San Francisco elected to receive to begin overtime.
"None of us have a ton of experience with it, but we went through all the analytics and talked to those guys, and we just decided we wanted the ball third," Shanahan said.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said his club would've opted to take the ball second had it won the coin toss.
Safety Justin Reid said coach Reid first spoke about the overtime rules in training camp. Defensive tackle Chris Jones added that Kansas City knew its overtime strategy heading into the Super Bowl.
"We talked through this for two weeks," Jones said. "How we was going to give the ball to the opponent; if they scored, we was going for two at the end of the game. We rehearsed it."
Shanahan is winless in three Super Bowl appearances as a head coach or coordinator. His teams have led by at least 10 points in each of those games.