NFL
January 22, 2020

Kyle Shanahan predicting a penalty to the ref before it even happened is football porn

Last week, Showtime's "Inside the NFL" cameras picked up a hilarious collision between ref and head coach, the coach being gigantic former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel. Stunningly, Vrabel appeared to be the victim, mostly because he had no idea the truck stick was coming and couldn't brace for it.

Once again, this week "Inside the NFL" picked up on an incredible interaction between ref and head coach, but this time, thankfully, it didn't get physical. This interaction featured San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who has seemingly become one of the most brilliant head coaches in the NFL overnight. His performance, and his team's performance, in the NFC Championship Game was incredible to watch, though the Green Bay Packers did their best to make it interesting late in the game.

Just as thoughts of "28-3" began to creep in everyone's head (Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons when they blew the massive lead against the Patriots in the Super Bowl), the Niners got a game-sealing penalty on the most crucial play of the game. After taking a 27-0 lead, they found themselves leading 34-20 with just under six minutes to play, with the offense facing a do-or-die 3rd and 3 on the Packers 47-yard line. If they couldn't pick it up, they'd punt it back to Aaron Rodgers, who was beginning to find a rhythm and may have cut the lead to a touchdown.

Instead, the Packers were called for defensive holding, a penalty Shanahan predicted would happen before it did. That's right, Shanahan went to the side judge and said "five-yard out route, 85 [George Kittle] versus their guy. He's going to go inside and break out, he won't let him out. Watch," Shanahan tells the ref. What happened next? Exactly what Shanahan said would happen, and he got the call from the side judge:

How triggered is Sean McVay that this isn't him?

If you watch enough "Inside the NFL"/ "Mic'd Up"/ "Sound FX" type content from the NFL (which is the greatest), you'll inevitably come across a clip of a coach telling an official to watch for penalties the other team is committing that are going uncalled. Rarely, if ever, will the ref actually call them. Not in this case, and the flag ended up burying the Packers. The Niners were given an automatic first down, which kept the drive alive and allowed the offense to pick up another first down, run nearly three more minutes off the clock and get into field goal range and tack on three points, putting the game out of reach at 37-20. Former NFL QB Sage Rosenfels further broke down the play here:

Some great football nerdery that Packers fans will hate to see. While there was some serious hand fighting, that's such a ticky tack call to kill the game on. Then again, if Green Bay wasn't down 27-0 to start, maybe they avoid this situation entirely.