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The Case Of Kyle Shanahan's Missing Backpack Has Been Solved

Photo: John Bazemore/AP

Kyle Shanahan is about to coach in the biggest game of his career. He might need his playbook this weekend, but he lost it after the backpack he was carrying it around in at NFL media day got nabbed! Who could have pulled off such a dastardly caper?

As the drama unfolded, Shanahan paced Minute Maid Park, looking for clues. A Falcons security agent, meanwhile, searched through an unattended backpack on the floor.

“I’ve got to find it,” Shanahan told USA TODAY Sports, searching more than 15 minutes after the media session ended, the players already departed.


Hard to blame this one on anyone but Shanahan. When you’re playing the Patriots, you have to make sure your OPSEC is airtight.

But lo! It turns out that Bill Belichick’s tie was, in fact, not a distraction for the Falcons’ backpack security squadron, but merely a normal tie, and the San Francisco Examiner’s Art Spander mistakenly took Shanahan’s backpack. As USA Today noted, Spander’s been covering Super Bowls for a really long time, but the backpack heist was his first:

After nearly 30 minutes of searching and frantic phone calls, Spander returned with Shanahan’s bag. The coach was undeniably relieved.

Spander, 78, is covering his 40th Super Bowl. He had no idea he had taken the wrong bag until contacted by a fellow writer.

“I’ve screwed up before, but I’ve never picked up the wrong bag,” Spander told USA TODAY Sports. “And there’s no way I’d have a game plan.”

Spander, for his part, said he was freaked out too.


This story seems over, but there is still something to consider: What if Shanahan actually nabbed Spander’s backpack to do some, uh, covert research or something before he came to San Francisco? I doubt we will ever find the answers.

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