49ers' George Kittle Says 'I've Gotta Live With' OPI Call in Super Bowl 54

Blake SchusterContributor IIIFebruary 3, 2020

Free safety for the Kansas City Chiefs Daniel Sorensen (L) tries to block San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle from catching the ball during Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on February 2, 2020. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

With the Super Bowl tied 10-10 late in the first half, the San Francisco 49ers had a chance to apply some early pressure with a 42-yard pass to tight end George Kittle

Except the ball had barely been in the air more than a moment before referees threw a flag. Kittle, fighting for separation from Kansas City's Daniel Sorensen, was called for offensive pass interference. Instead of getting within striking distance of more points, the Niners knelt on the next play and went into halftime tied. 

NFL Officiating @NFLOfficiating

The receiver extends his arm and creates separation while the ball is in the air, therefore it is offensive pass interference. – AL #SBLIV https://t.co/hxAvggDqhS

Little things like that will be on Kittle's mind this offseason. While the 49ers got the ball back to start the third quarter—eventually taking a 20-10 lead into the final frame—those potential points negated by pass interference pose a "what if" moment for the star tight end. 

"I've gotta live with it," Kittle said after the Chiefs' 31-20 victory. "It's what it is. The ref makes the call. I live with it. ... Our defense put us in a position to win the game multiple times and as an offense, we just didn't get it done."

Kevin Chow @Kevin__Chow

George Kittle on the OPI call before halftime: “I’ve gotta live with it. It’s what it is. You know the ref makes the call, you live with it.” “Our defense put us in a position to win the game multiple times and as an offense we just didn’t get it done.” https://t.co/7UpQ3Js6Rr

Kittle finished the night with just four receptions for 36 yards after establishing himself as one of the biggest offensive threats in San Francisco this season. The 26-year-old out of Iowa finished with the third-most yards of any tight end (1,053) and five touchdowns on 85 receptions in 2019. 

As the Niners look to rebound from their Super Bowl loss, Kittle will remain one of the most important players to build around.