Exhale. I know, the wound is still open for many of us. The "agony of defeat" is still ringing in our ears. After that pass was deflected by that hand attached to that body I called for the check. One scan for flags on the ground- okay, that ones for taunting. It was time to pay the bill without reading it. Time to go home.
I'm sure I wasn't the only one who couldn't muster more than a few dejected words afterwards. I'm sure I'm not the only half zombie at work today. But what did we expect? If your answer, is "a Super Bowl victory" I'd recommend taking up a new hobby. Sure, we all hoped as hard as we could for that ball to somehow slip by that hand or perhaps more realistically for Colin to scan the field for a less well covered target. But let's talk about reality meeting up with expectations. Nobody should set their expectations too high in this sport. The league is too balanced, the margins are too thin, the season is too short and the ball bounces too randomly. And that's before officials start officiating and tendons start snapping. If you expect too much you're going to be disappointed almost every time.
This season is over. Let that sink in. But, as disappointing as that realization may be today, let's reflect on what we as fans got out of it. If you love pro football you got a great deal out of rooting for the red and gold. 19 games of meaningful football. 14 wins, including a league best 8 consecutive. 2 playoff road victories. A ninety yard interception returned for a touchdown to close one of the most storied stadiums in pro sports. At one point or another we saw our guys playing at the pinnacle of their profession. That's pretty special and few fan bases can legitimately make that claim. All of this should exceed your expectations.
Three seasons of Harbaugh's 49ers are in the books. 41 victories, 5 playoff wins, 2 division titles, and an NFC title. Next year we will return most of the roster which has achieved this, with the addition of one of the deepest drafts in the league and very likely a few free agent signings as well. Nothing is guaranteed but few teams will field as deep and as talented a roster. Many of our stars will be hitting their primes and several promising rookies from last years draft will be getting their first real opportunities.
So while this loss still stings there's no reason to be distraught. It was a hell of a ride. It didn't take us quite as far as we hoped but that's the life of the fan. Bring on the draft. Go Niners!