Steve Wilks Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks talks into his microphone in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers during NFL action against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 28 at State Farm Stadium. 49ers vs Cardinals

The San Francisco 49ers fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks Wednesday in a surprise move just three days after their loss in Super Bowl LVIII.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced the move during a conference call with reporters.

“This morning I relieved Steve Wilks of his duties,” Shanahan said (via ESPN). “(We’re) going to end up making a change here at defensive coordinator. A really tough decision, because [it] really says nothing about Steve as a man or as a football coach. I mean he’s exactly what we wanted as a man. He is a great football coach.

“But just where we’re going and where we’re at with our team from a scheme standpoint and things like that, looking through it all throughout the year to these last few days, I felt pretty strongly that this was a decision that was best for organization.”

Wilks only held the post for one season. The 49ers had one of the NFL’s top defenses in 2023, finishing third in scoring defense, fifth in turnovers and eighth in total yards allowed. However, the 49ers got gouged by the run in the postseason, yielding 5.1 yards per carry to the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Chiefs

While Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 333 yards and ran for 66 more in the Super Bowl, you should expect that — he is Patrick Mahomes. The fact the 49ers held KC to one touchdown in regulation deserves plenty of credit.

The 54-year-old Wilks’ job loss comes at a bad time for him, with head coaching and DC positions this offseason already filled. He has previously served as head coach with the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals and DC with the Cleveland Browns and Panthers.

The NFL world quickly reacted to the stunning news.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.