Kyle Shanahan received his just reward for the San Francisco 49ers' outstanding 2019 campaign with a contract that provides the head coach with the opportunity to cement his place in franchise legend.
The Niners signed Shanahan to a multi-year deal on Monday. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that it is a six-year deal, which replaces the final three years of his previous contract and ties him to San Francisco through the 2025 season.
It is a decision in stark contrast to how CEO Jed York handled the contract situation of the last 49ers head coach to reach a Super Bowl, Jim Harbaugh, who did not receive a contract extension after the defeat to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII and went on to be fired after a power struggle with then-general manager Trent Baalke.
Shanahan's tenure being extended despite this past season's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in a fourth-quarter collapse in Super Bowl LIV shows the Niners brass understands the value of a head coach whose talent as an offensive play-caller has been imperative to San Francisco's remarkable turnaround.
Securing Shanahan's services for the next six seasons is a move that sets the 49ers up for long-term success. There is little to suggest he will fail to see out his contract, with Shanahan the ideal head coach to have in place in a league that is increasingly geared towards offense.
If Shanahan completes his contract, he will have been at the helm of the 49ers for nine seasons, making him the second-longest tenured head coach in franchise history behind Bill Walsh, who was in charge for 10 seasons and 152 regular-season games.
Buck Shaw, the 49ers' first head coach, enjoyed a nine-season stint but did so in an era where teams were fewer and seasons were shorter.
Should Shanahan oversee more success and banish the memory of last season's heartbreak by leading the 49ers to a sixth Super Bowl title, then the smart money says he will be in line for another extension that would see him surpass Walsh and become the organization's longest-tenured coach.
Yet Shanahan's standing in the storied history of the 49ers will depend on much more than how long his spell as head coach lasts, and he has ground to make up in winning percentage and playoff wins.
Indeed, Shanahan's winning percentage of .479 is well below that of Walsh (.609) and two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach George Seifert (.766).
Shaw (.640), Harbaugh (.695) and Steve Mariucci (.594) also have an edge over Shanahan in that department.
However, after guiding the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance last season, Shanahan needs only one more postseason win to tie Mariucci's total of three. Harbaugh's tally of five also looks imminently within his grasp, with Walsh and Seifert each on 10.
Shanahan has even more time on his side to chase those records following Monday's announcement. He will need to deliver at least one Lombardi Trophy to even be considered on the same level as Walsh and Seifert but after being within minutes of that elusive sixth championship back in February, the 49ers are backing Shanahan to get them over the hump and immortalize himself in franchise folklore.
Media courtesy Getty Images
Graphic via Dillon Hiser