“The hotel will be our Levi’s Stadium,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said on a Tuesday morning Zoom call with the media.
With Santa Clara County prohibiting contact sports until at least December 21, the entire 49ers organization needed a new home and that home is in Arizona. They will practice where the Arizona Cardinals had training camp and they will play their next two “home” games (at least) at State Farm Stadium. When rivals become roomies.
Just a few basic rules about the house…
If there’s any food you like, we suggest you put your name on it or it will be thrown out… by us.
And don’t ever, ever, ever touch our drum set. https://t.co/WcJlcWffBT
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 1, 2020
“…[T]he guys have done an awesome job with just [director of team logistics Steve] Risser and [team logistics manager Mike] Slap and then [president] Al [Guido] and [general manager John] Lynch and everyone, just getting us set up in Arizona,” Shanahan said. “…[W]e’ve got to plan for about three weeks, at least. I’m just telling the guys and our team, just look at it one week at a time. We’ve traveled as a team for a week before, so I’m trying to get guys not to just make all their decisions yet, which is tough with the families and everything, but hopefully we can get down there for a week and kind of figure it out, what we can do, what we can’t do, what the situation is. Then we’ll spend the next two weeks trying to adjust to make it as good as we can for whatever problems we couldn’t figure out.”
Over the last couple of years, the 49ers have stayed away from home for a week between games to avoid multiple cross-country trips in such a short period, and it has paid off. But, this is a little different.
“…[W]e’re used to getting away for a week or so, but I can’t tell you how sick of each other we are after a week in a hotel,” Shanahan said. “Usually that week’s good and we play better, but then after that week, guys need to get home. So, a week’s not the daunting thing. It’s the month of December that guys get a little overwhelmed with. So that’s why I’m just trying to get guys to not think of it that way. Even though the dates say that, I’m just trying to take it one week at a time…
“Some guys don’t have family, some guys do. And I’m not just talking players and coaches, I’m talking everybody. So, there’ll be different problems with guys. I mean, some guys have pregnant wives who are due this month. How does that stuff work with being out and trying to come home? Do you have to quarantine for 14 days once that happens? Can you not see the baby? So, there’s lots of different levels of stuff that we’ve just got to figure out and I believe we will. It’s not a whole answer for everybody, it’s about 200 different, individual cases.”
The 49ers host the Buffalo Bills Monday night and then the Washington Football Team on December 13. The following week, they play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium and then a Dec. 26 away game against the Cardinals, before their final home game (wherever that may be) against the Seattle Seahawks.
“…I just try to tell our guys that I don’t care what happens, we’re not going to spend Christmas without our families,” Shanahan said. “We’ll figure it out. That’s really what I try to give to everyone just so they can say that to their families, because I think that is a concern. We had our game on the 27th, it got moved to the 26th, so we were going to be traveling to Arizona Christmas afternoon anyways. So, if we are able to come back and then go right back out, I don’t know what that deal is, but I know our organization, they’ll do whatever they can to figure out whether we’re here with our families for that week or whether we have to get all of them to us and go through whatever we have to do to do that. I know that’ll be worth it. I know Jed [York] will help us out with that…”
With the 49ers win over the Los Angeles Rams this past weekend, San Francisco is 5-6 and in the playoff hunt, which makes the abrupt move even more difficult. But, they are professionals and they still have a job to do.
“…I think we have real good buy-in from our guys,” Shanahan said. “I think just the way that they play, regardless of the situation, I think you guys can see that, but I do think it’s human nature. The season’s tough and it is a grind in all aspects every year, and especially with this year, as much as anything I’ve ever seen. So, you’ve got to go through it. It’s always tough, but when there’s more rewards and you’re seeing there you are in the fight…it’s easier to go through the grind when you have a chance to get into the tournament at the end. Once you don’t, we’re professionals, this is what we do, so I don’t expect anything to fall off, but I know it’s a hell of a lot more fun and a lot easier to go through that grind and go through some of the stuff when you’ve got a chance to extend your season at the end.”
Wheels up. The 49ers have to get ready for some Monday Night Football.