Super Bowl 2024: Chiefs star calls the 49ers ‘crazy’ for electing to receive the ball first in overtime
Jones did not think the 49ers made the right choice
By Shanna McCarriston Feb 12, 2024 at 3:49 pm ET • 2 min read
Another Super Bowl is in the books, and it was the Kansas City Chiefs, once again, who came out on top, defeating the San Francisco 49ers, 25-22, in overtime. The game marked just the second Super Bowl that went into overtime and the first with the new postseason OT rules.
Unlike in the regular season, where a touchdown on the first possession wins the game in overtime, both offenses get possession of the ball under the new rules, unless the first drive ends in a safety.
The 49ers won the coin toss and had all the power in their hands. They elected to receive the ball first, something many football fans, and even some players, disagreed with.
Chiefs star defensive tackle Chris Jones was one person surprised by the choice, as his team has made it clear it would have deferred if it won the toss.
“They’re crazy,” Jones said, speaking about the 49ers. “Because the overtime rules has changed where both teams get the ball no matter who scores. So, originally, you want to let the other team get the ball, stop them, holding [to] three, so you know what you got. Or if you stop them, they punt it, then all you have to do is kick three.”
Taking the ball first gives the other team four downs to work during its drive. Situations where the Chiefs may have punted if they had the ball to start, turned into four-down territory since the Niners already had a possession.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan, who is now 0-3 in Super Bowls as a coach, defended his decision, saying he was preparing for a situation where both teams scored a touchdown and it went to sudden death.
“This is something we talked about with, you know, that none of us have a ton of experience of it but we went through all the analytics and talked with those guys and we just thought it would be better, we just wanted the ball third,” Shanahan said after the game, via a league transcript. “If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go in.
Hindsight is everything and obviously things did not work out for Shanahan and Co. The Niners’ 13-play overtime drive ended in a 27-yard field goal from Jake Moody, allowing the Chiefs to win the game if they scored a touchdown, which they did. Kansas City wide receiver Mecole Hardman had the game-winning score, never allowing the 49ers to touch the ball again.
While overtime was something the Chiefs discussed in detail, going over the new rules as far back as training camp, multiple 49ers players said they did not even know the protocol. They admitted that they thought a touchdown would win the game, therefore it was the best choice to elect to receive.
With the win, the Chiefs are officially a dynasty, hoisting three Lombardi Trophies in five years.