HOUSTON — Whew.
That was Kyle Shanahan’s reaction Monday night after a lost-and-found misadventure at the Super Bowl.
At the end of the Atlanta Falcons' media session, the team's star offensive coordinator — soon to become the San Francisco 49ers' new head coach — discovered that his backpack was nowhere to be found. Gone — the contents inside apparently including the team's gameplan for Super Bowl LI.
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.
But before you suspect the New England Patriots were behind this, lighten up.
Shanahan’s bag was mistakenly lifted by San Francisco Examiner columnist Art Spander, who left his backpack at the site where reporters had gathered to interview Shanahan.
After nearly 30 minutes of searching and frantic phone calls, Spander returned with Shanahan’s bag. The coach was undeniably relieved.
“That would have been bad,” he said in a text message to USA TODAY Sports.
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.”
So there you have it, lost and found at the Super Bowl.
Follow NFL columnist Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell