San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle has things in perspective. He knows his team is good. He realizes he played a major role in helping get his team to Super Bowl LIV in February. Kittle is appreciative, but he’s also upset.
Kittle making his mark in the NFL
George Kittle is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. A draft-day steal in 2017, Kittle was selected in the fifth round by the San Francisco 49ers out of the University of Iowa.
Kittle is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, including last year when he was also named First-Team All-Pro. A year ago, Kittle caught 85 passes for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games. Kittle and the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl where they blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and fell to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kittle has had consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. In 2018, he had a career-high 1,377 receiving yards in 16 games. He also collected five touchdowns. In his three seasons with the 49ers, Kittle has accumulated 2,945 receiving yards and had 12 touchdowns. He had shown his durability by missing just three games.
The 49ers Super Bowl run
Last year, the San Francisco 49ers showed they were a complete team, dominating on both sides of the ball. The Niners finished the regular season as the top seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record and then defeated both the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs to reach Super Bowl LIV.
In Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers outscored the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs 10-0 in the third quarter, breaking open a 10-10 halftime tie and taking a 20-10 lead into the fourth quarter. The Niners maintained that double-digit lead until there were less than seven minutes left in the game.
With 6:13 remaining, Travis Kelce hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to help cut the Chiefs’ deficit to 20-17. After turning the ball over on downs, the 49ers watched Mahomes and the Chiefs take the lead with 2:44 remaining when Mahomes hit running back Damien Williams with a 5-yard pass to make it 24-20. Williams tacked on a late score as the Chiefs won 31-20.
Kittle: ‘One of the worst experiences of my life”
George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers could taste victory in Super Bowl LIV, holding a 10-point lead with less than seven minutes to play. The Niners, however, fell apart and saw the Chiefs score 21 unanswered points in the final 6:13 to win. The loss still stings for Kittle.
“It’s not something I’ll ever get over,” All-Pro tight end George Kittle said during an interview on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo on Friday, according to 49ersWebzone. “Losing the Super Bowl is definitely one of the worst experiences of my life. It’s just a missed opportunity, knowing that you’re not going to get back unless your whole team comes together and just puts together a great season again, like we had last year. Know that we’ve just got to finish.
“But it’s not something I’m going to let haunt me. My experience in the Super Bowl was awesome. That whole season was a blast.”
Kittle knows there were plenty of lost opportunities for the 49ers in that game and he’s looking forward to bounce back. Although the pain still lingers for Kittle, he won’t dwell on it.
” I’m not going to be upset and completely hurt the rest of my life because of it,” he said. “But I’m definitely looking forward to another shot to go out there and play again.”