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Joe Staley pushed 49ers to hire Kyle Shanahan in 2017, calling him "the next big thing"

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After going 2-14 in Chip Kelly's only season as coach, the 49ers were looking for stability. They had gone through three coaches in three years as they began their search in 2017.

Offensive tackle Joe Staley, one of the team leaders that season, went to 49ers CEO Jed York to advocate for Kyle Shanahan as the 49ers' next head coach.

"I was like, 'You have to make this happen,' " Staley said during an appearance on the Mojobreak Media podcast last week, via NBC Sports Bay Area. " 'Everything I’ve heard about from a player’s side, management side, he is the next big thing . He is an unbelievable coach, the way that he sees the game. You need to -- whatever you can do -- try to make this happen.' "

The 49ers hired Shanahan on Feb. 6, 2017, after the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI. But it has proved to be a good move for the team as the 49ers have had three playoff appearances the past six years. All three playoff appearances resulted in trips to at least the NFC Championship Game, with a Super Bowl appearance in the 2019 season.

"That’s why I was so behind Shanahan, because I saw the system, saw what he was trying to build, him and [49ers General Manager] John [Lynch]," Staley said. "And it was the first time in my career, since probably before [Trent] Baalke and [Jim] Harbaugh, that I felt a connect from the top level down -- ownership, General Manager, head coach, support staff -- everything was on the same page, and I knew what they were going to build from that point on."

Staley retired after the 2019 season that ended in the loss to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. San Francisco has yet to get back there, but Staley said the team's sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy is only a matter of time. That's how much he believes in Lynch and Shanahan.

"As long as they’re there, [the 49ers are] going to be unbelievable," Staley said.

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