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Falcons' Shanahan keeps eyes on prize amid 49ers distraction

By Larry Fine

By Larry Fine

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Kyle Shanahan has all but been announced as coach of the San Francisco 49ers, but before he tries to turn that team around the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator is focused solely on upsetting the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

The son of longtime NFL coach Mike Shanahan, the Falcons coach knows firsthand about priorities and the emotional impact of the National Football League championship game.

"When it comes to the Super Bowl – just growing up we went to six Super Bowls as a son of a coach," Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. "I remember going to all of those games. I remember crying afterwards when they lost and I remember crying after when they won.

"Those are memories that I’ve had for my whole life. They were my biggest moments and I was just a kid there watching it."

Mike Shanahan put in 20 seasons as a head coach for the Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. He was also an assistant over the years and was offensive coordinator on the 49ers' last Super Bowl-winning team 22 years ago.

The younger Shanahan, 37, is trying help the Falcons win their first Super Bowl in the franchise's 51st NFL season when they face New England on Sunday.

"The one thing that I know is that I’ll have no regrets about this Super Bowl," said Shanahan.

"I'm 100 percent committed to thinking about this and I know from living my life and watching how it's done from my dad that this game is something you remember forever and I would never do anything to jeopardize that."

Inadvertently, he almost did just that at Monday's Super Bowl Opening Night extravaganza where the Falcons and Patriots faced media for the first time ahead of Sunday's game.

Shanahan's backpack, containing the Falcons' game plan, accidentally was picked up by a sportswriter, leading to a frantic 30-minute search before it was returned, the Bay Area Mercury News reported.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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