The Atlanta Falcons remain alive on the Road to Houston, but their talented offensive coordinator might wind up somewhere else.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Kyle Shanahan has emerged as the favorite for San Francisco’s head coaching job, per sources informed of the team’s thinking.
The 49ers have made that known privately, per Rapoport, but now must wait until Shanahan’s season is over before offering him the job. If anyone understands this sequence of events, it’s Falcons coach Dan Quinn, the former Seahawks defensive coordinator who wasn’t hired by Atlanta until after Seattle’s loss to New England in Super Bowl XLIX.
In a related development, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Monday took his name out of the running, telling reporters: “At this time, it’s best for my family and myself to remain here.”
Rapoport reported that Shanahan and McDaniels were considered “co-favorites” for the Niners job heading into this week, with Seahawks assistant Tom Cable also hanging around as a potential candidate.
Falcons fans will watch this process closely after Shanahan, the son of Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, turned Atlanta’s offense into a pure whirlwind in 2016.
Scoring 30-plus points in each of their last five games — including Saturday’s 36-20 playoff win over Seattle — the Falcons have turned out the league’s deadliest offense this season, while morphing quarterback Matt Ryan into a leading MVP candidate.
Patience pays off in coaching searches. As the final team looking for a new leader, San Francisco has a chance to land one of the league’s most promising young minds. It certainly gives Niners fans a reason to plug back into the playoffs.