It's not something you'll hear in a Disney movie based on the 49ers' incredible turnaround, but coach Kyle Shanahan's pre-NFC Championship Game pep talk sure did the trick.
With the 49ers a win over the Green Bay Packers away from punching their ticket to Super Bowl LIV, Shanahan relayed a story that a Navy SEAL told him to his team in order to prepare them for another bout with Aaron Rodgers.
The message, as told to The MMQB's Albert Breer, was a dark one about what it takes to kill an enemy that is fighting for their life.
The soldier was explaining combat, and he emphasized that finishing the job might mean drowning an enemy who was scratching and clawing and fighting for his life. It meant, in the soldier’s words, beating back all resistance, and holding his head under water until “the last bubble” was gone.
To the 49ers, the message was clear. They'd already romped over the Packers once, a 37-8 win in Week 12. But Green Bay didn't wilt and die. Instead, the Packers rallied to come back to Levi's Stadium for a shot at a Super Bowl berth. Now, it was time to finish the Packers for good.
“It was a little dark, but he got the message across,” Raheem Mostert, who had a record-breaking performance in the NFC title win over the Packers, told Breer.
The 49ers came out on fire and put the Packers away early, taking a 27-0 lead into halftime before coasting to a 37-20 win.
With Rodgers and the Packers finished off, the 49ers now turn their attention to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Shanahan has a couple of weeks to come up with the pregame pep talk that will send his team out into the biggest game of most of their lives.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday)