Kyle Shanahan Confirms What 49ers QB Plan Was Had They Made The Super Bowl

Well before the San Francisco 49ers depleted their pool of healthy quarterbacks during their NFC Championship Game defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles, they had initiated preliminary strategies for the quarterback position in the event of their progression to Super Bowl LVII.

One of these strategies entailed coaxing veteran quarterback Philip Rivers out of retirement to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

This had previously been rumored, but Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed it yesterday.

Speaking to reporters, he stated: “He (Rivers) was prepared for it. This is something we discussed throughout the entire year. We would have needed to assess the situation for the Super Bowl, but this was the prevailing plan for most of the year.”

Nonetheless, this potential scenario never came to fruition as the Niners lost their starter, Brock Purdy, due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and their backup, Josh Johnson, to a concussion.

Purdy remained in the game but was unable to throw, essentially erasing any chance for the 49ers to advance.

These injuries followed the earlier losses of Trey Lance to a fractured right ankle in Week 2 and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo to a broken left foot on December 4.

Had the 49ers beat the Eagles and secured Rivers, it would have marked his return to the league after a hiatus since 2020.

However, participating in this hypothetical situation alongside the 49ers would have granted the 41-year-old Rivers his first opportunity to compete in a Super Bowl.

Over his 17-season career as the quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts, Rivers accrued eight Pro Bowl selections and was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2013.

He ranks sixth in all-time passing yards (63,440) and touchdowns (421), and sixteenth in passer rating (95.2).

Since his retirement on January 20, 2021, Rivers has taken on a coaching role for the St. Michael Catholic High team in Fairhope, Alabama.

Regarding his stance, Rivers informed AL.com in March that teams had reached out to him during the season to assess his interest in returning to play. However, he conveyed that he did not envision such a scenario.

“I heard from a couple of teams just kind of checking in,” Rivers told AL.com. “I didn’t contact anyone, and I’m not going anywhere. I think maybe some teams, with some guys going down, may have been just looking for a contingency plan, but nothing came of it.”

At the time, a more viable option for the 49ers seemed to be present within their roster. Following Garoppolo’s injury, both he and the team maintained optimism that he could potentially return if the Niners advanced deep into the postseason.

Although Garoppolo did not recover in time for the NFC Championship Game, he remained hopeful that he would have been available had the 49ers progressed.

What a crazy scene it would have been to see Rivers take the field for the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

Who wouldn’t have loved to see that?! (Other than Eagles fans, of course.)

 

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