Kyle Shanahan is the next Bill Belichick.
FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd argued this point Tuesday on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” when he took issue with the San Francisco 49ers head coach’s lowly place on NFL.com’s power rankings of head coaches coming into the 2019 season. NFL.com predictably placed Belichick in first place, while Shanahan sits far down the list at No. 23.
Cowherd compares Shanahan’s and Belichick’s tenures as assistant coaches and concludes the former will achieve success, perhaps even as much as the latter has.
“When NFL.com comes out and puts Kyle Shanahan as the 23rd best head coach, what are you doing?” Cowherd said. “Shanahan has a doppelganger in this league, it’s called Bill Belichick. Belichick was a great and legendary coordinator everywhere he went. If I told you while he was in Cleveland that you were looking at the next great head coach in the league you would have scoffed at it.
“Kyle Shanahan has had an incredible career as a coordinator. He made Matt Schaub a Pro Bowler (with the Houston Texans) and Matt Ryan an MVP (with the Atlanta Falcons). This is Belichick before he got a franchise quarterback. To put him 23rd is absurd and in two years you’ll put him in the top six. Sean McVay has the high cheekbones and is way better with the media so we all love McVay, but I think Shanahan is a better coach.”
Shanahan was 38 years old when he led the 49ers to a 6-10 record in 2017, his debut campaign as an NFL head coach. The 49ers were 4-12 last season under his watch, but that was in large part due to losing new franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the season to a knee injury.
The Cleveland Browns went 6-10 in 1991 under Belichick, then 39. The Browns went 7-9 in Belichick’s second season and 28-36 in the ensuing four campaigns.
Shanahan will require decades of experience and winning in order to come close to matchup Belichick’s NFL exploits. However, should Shanahan manage to do so, we’ll credit Cowherd for calling it first when the time comes.
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