49ers' Kyle Shanahan Upset by Santa Clara's Handling of COVID-19 Restrictions

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2020

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan walks the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

Santa Clara County, home to the San Francisco 49ers and Levi's Stadium, announced at a press conference Saturday while the Niners were traveling to Los Angeles to play the Rams that it was suspending all contact sports for the next three weeks, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN. 

That left the 49ers without a home for that time period. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Sunday that he was extremely unhappy with how the county handled the announcement:

"For us to be heading out here yesterday and the relationship we have with them and for our players and coaches and everyone on that plane and our wives to find that out while we're getting on a plane and no one to tell us, it was just extremely disappointing...

"I get it: They made that decision, and we've got to deal with it, but to find that out through a tweet or a press conference, where I have an entire plane coming up to me, I have all wives, everyone's girlfriends, everyone's family members, kids, saying they heard we could be gone for the entire month of December? Are we going to be quarantined for 14 days when we get back? That's all we could talk about for the last 18 hours because we got no answers from them. I was just very disappointed."

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Despite the unexpected distraction, the Niners beat the Rams on Sunday, 23-20, moving to 5-6 on the season.

The Niners have scheduled home games on Dec. 7 vs. the Buffalo Bills, Dec. 13 vs. the Washington Football Team and Jan. 3 vs. the Seattle Seahawks. It is unclear where the games against the Bills and Washington will be played. 

Wagoner noted that "the team and the NFL had been working through potential contingencies as far back as the preseason" and that "two of the options discussed then—Texas and Arizona—remain strong candidates to host Niners 'home' games, as neither the Dallas Cowboys nor the Cardinals have day-of-game schedule conflicts with the 49ers' remaining contests."

So the Niners have backup options in place. But Shanahan and the Niners clearly felt blindsided by the nature of Santa Clara's announcement and less than enthused about potentially spending the next three weeks, at least, in a new location.