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​Kyle Shanahan Briefly Lost the Falcons' Super Bowl Game Plan

There was no foul play, just a reporter who took the wrong bag by mistake.
Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There's a lot on the mind of Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. There's the little matter of the Super Bowl on Sunday, for which he must devise a game plan to best a New England defense that gave away the fewest points in the NFL this season, and sufficiently so that the Falcons can possibly beat the Patriots in a shootout.

Beyond that, there's the matter of him being the presumptive next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Once the Super Bowl is over, Shanahan is likely to get the job. In fact, the gig is so clearly his that the only doubt remaining is whether he could possibly turn it down.

There was no lack of questions about his future, both immediate and long-term, at Super Bowl Opening Night. With all that scrutiny, it's understandable that Shanahan was not fully aware of all his surroundings. Of course, when your game plan for the Super Bowl is in the backpack you take with you to media availability, best to keep it clutched to your person.

Shanahan emerged from the throng on Monday night only to find the backpack with the game plan missing. He frantically searched the field of Minute Maid Park for 15 minutes as a team security official searched an unattended bag that was found on the premises.

The Patriots were known in the Spygate years to swipe opponent's game plans, though that usually involved the trouble of actually going into someone's locker room. That doesn't seem to be the case here, unless San Francisco Examiner columnist Art Spander happens to be a Belichick sleeper cell. The writer had taken Shanahan's bag and left his own.

The whole process played out over a panicked half-hour for the Falcons coach. In a text to USA Today later, he reflected on the horrors that could have been. "That would have been bad," he wrote.