Some Detroit Lions fans might have felt a bit salty while watching Super Bowl 58 on Sunday night. After all, the Lions were one win away from playing in the game themselves. Ultimately though, it was the San Francisco 49ers who bested the Lions and advanced to the big game to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs.
To make matters worse for Lions fans, a critical conversion by the 49ers in the game probably gave them unwanted flashbacks of a couple of Detroit's fourth down failures in the NFC championship.
Down 13-10 early in the fourth quarter, the 49ers decided to go for it on fourth and three from Kansas City's 15-yard line, as opposed to kicking a game-tying field goal. The decision paid off, as the Niners converted the play and eventually capped off the drive off with a touchdown.
Going for it in that situation was a gutsy call by 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, and one that paid off. Lions coach Dan Campbell showed similar gall against San Francisco in the NFC championship, but the Lions didn't have the same success.
Twice in the second half of the game the Lions opted against kicking a reasonable field goal on fourth down, and they failed to convert both times, in turn leaving six points on the board in a game that the Niners won by three.
Campbell faced a good amount of criticism for his calls in those situations, but he stood by his decisions.
"It's easy hindsight. I get it. I get that, but I don't regret those decisions, and it's hard," Campbell said. "It's hard because we didn't come through, and it wasn't able to work out, but I don't. And I understand the scrutiny I'll get -- that's part of the gig -- but it just didn't work out."
Things didn't work out for the 49ers ultimately, either, as they fell to the Chiefs, 25-22, in overtime of Super Bowl 58.