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Where Does Kyle Shanahan Rank Among Head Coaches?

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After leading the San Francisco 49ers to their first Super Bowl since 2012, head coach Kyle Shanahan was awarded a six-year deal on Monday. Signed through the 2025 season, where does Shanahan rank among the other head coaches in the NFL?

2008-09: Houston Texans (OC)

At the age of 28, the Houston Texans promoted quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan to their offensive coordinator. The move came after the departure of head coach Gary Kubiak in January of 2008.

In two seasons, the Texans went 17-15 with Shanahan on the staff. Despite the subpar record, the team had bright spots on the offensive side of the ball. In both years under Shanahan, Andre Johnson led the league in receiving in both 2008 (1,575 receiving yards) and 2009 (1,569). In addition, quarterback Matt Schaub became the league-leading passer in 2009 (4,770 passing yards).

2010-13: Washington Redskins (OC)

In February of 2020, Shanahan was hired by the Washington Redskins as their offensive coordinator. He joined the coaching staff that included his father, Mike Shanahan, as head coach.

In three seasons with the team, Shanahan was 21-27 as an offensive coordinator with Washington. However, the product of success took time. Once hired, the top receiver for the Redskins with a 31-year old Santana Moss, who recorded 1,115 receiving yards in Shanahan’s first year with the team.

Two years later, Shanahan played a role in the rookie success of Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. That year, Griffin totaled 3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and five interceptions en route to winning Rookie of the Year. That year, the Redskins ranked fifth in total yards and fourth in points per game.

After a dissapointing 3-13 campaign in 2013, the Redskins cleaned out the entire coaching staff, including both Mike and Kyle Shanahan.

2014: Cleveland Browns (OC)

After being immediately scooped up by the Browns, the 2014 NFL Draft foreshadowed the relationship between Shanahan and ownership. While Shanahan preferred quarterback prospects Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr, the team instead elected to invest in Johnny Manziel. From there, the rest is history.

The team rode with Brian Hoyer for a majority of the 2014 season, who threw more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (12). Still, Shanahan’s success allowed the team to finish in the playoff hunt with a 7-9 record.

Stuck under a three-year contract, Shanahan managed to distribute a list of 32 reasons why Cleveland should let him go. While it was unorthodox, it worked.

2015-16: Atlanta Falcons (HC)

In January of 2015, the Falcons brought in Shanahan as their offensive coordinator. As part of the package, the team also signed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their head coach.

In two seasons, Shanahan was 19-13 as the offensive coordinator. In his first season with the team, wide receiver Julio Jones posted a league-high 136 receptions and 1,871 receiving yards to go with eight touchdowns.

The following year, the Atlanta Falcons reached the Super Bowl under MVP Matt Ryan. He recorded 4,944 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. While the outcome wasn’t favorable, Shanahan led one of the most accomplished offenses in recent NFL history.

In both seasons under Shanahan, running back Devonta Freeman recorded 1,000+ rushing yards. Without him, he has yet to reach that mark.

2017-19: San Francisco 49ers (HC)

Just one day after the loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, Kyle Shanahan took the opportunity to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Under a six-year deal, the team invested its future in both Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch.

To date, the 49ers are 23-25 under Shanahan’s guidance. After trading for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who Shanahan desired in 2014, the team has gone 19-5 in the regular season.

Both Marquise Goodwin (962 receiving yards in 2017) and George Kittle (1,377 in 2018) have had career years under Shanahan, who has a proven track record of improving offensive performances.

With a second Super Bowl appearance, Shanahan is still seeking his first Super Bowl win of his coaching career. Until then, it may be difficult to place him among the elite coaches such as Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Pete Carroll, and others.

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