If your heart belongs to the San Francisco 49ers, it's difficult to take any positives away from the way their season ended. After a jubilant run to New Orleans, the Niners would return home empty handed.
When the moment arrived for a Super Bowl champion to be crowned, it just wasn't their time.
However, in a moment like this, San Francisco had an opportunity to learn a lot about themselves. In a year that was defined by the transition of Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick, naturally there was an evolution of the team's identity.
More so than ever, the 49ers became known as a consistent comeback team.
It began in Philadelphia in 2011 when we saw San Francisco comeback from a 17-point halftime deficit. This was the first sign of the team adopting the mentality of their head coach.
They went on to have clutch wins against Detroit, New York and New Orleans that year.
The change at QB was the next step into this team's new identity, which came in 2012. In Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers found a quarterback that responds incredibly well to adversity. In big-time games moments where he had to make a play, he did.
Kaepernick has been great at keeping his composure and performing under pressure situations. The one thing he lacks at this juncture is experience, which is invaluable and cannot be rushed.
Regardless, he does a lot of things very well right now.
Whenever he would rebound on a series and make some spectacular ‘woah' play, the defense would get fired up. Kaepernick's uncontested drive and work ethic in the face of adversity inspires his teammates watching him from the sideline.
This equals great momentum shifts.
The Niners have the ability to shake moments of hardship because when one of them comes to life, they all do. It's a snowball effect and Kaepernick is now at the nucleus of it. His performance echoes throughout his teammates, and they begin to feed off the energy of one another.
San Francisco's ability to overcome deficits is also a testament to their coaching staff.
When it comes to the game plan, they know what to change and what to keep the same. During games, coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio have been excellent with their adjustments.
This hasn't always been the case with Roman, but now that Kaepernick is under center, he's found a little more success with this playbook.
With this kind of heart, the San Francisco 49ers are built for any sort of challenge. They have shown that they can come out and run the score up on an opponent. But they have also shown that no hole is too deep - they'll keep fighting until the clock reads double zeros.
This team identity is very fitting for a head coach nicknamed 'Captain Comeback.'