Last night, when a second Super Bowl win was just three feet away from the Seahawks, fans watched helplessly as it was ripped out of their hands by Malcolm Butler. The decision to pass the ball from the 1-yard line instead of giving it to Marshawn Lynch will be questioned forever, but it happened and Seahawks fans will need to learn to live with it.
Three weeks earlier, the Ducks fell in less dramatic fashion to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the inaugural College Football Playoff championship. But for both fan bases, their losses sting equally. Due to the regional proximity, some fans, myself included, were forced to endure seeing their team lose a championship twice in the span of just 20 days. There's no more agonizing experience in all of sports than to see your team fall flat on the biggest stage. Having to endure it twice in less than a month just seems too cruel to be imaginable.
Which fan base had it worse? Seahawks fans, by a mile. No, by about 10 miles. The Seahawks were three feet away from likely winning the Super Bowl, and they made a decision that even the players themselves openly questioned. You know it's bad when your own players won't even stand behind the decisions of the coaching staff. All they had to do was run the ball, and there would be another championship parade in Seattle this week. I mean, just look at this win probability chart. It shows you just how quickly things went wrong for Seattle
For Oregon, their national championship loss was a little different. Did it still hurt just as bad? Of course. But you could see that loss coming from a mile away. You had time to emotionally prepare for what was about to happen. The 2011 title game for Oregon and yesterday's Super Bowl for the Seahawks had much more in common. It featured the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Force me to sit through a national championship loss in any given year, and I'll take a blowout over and over again. Because when it's a blowout, you simply have to shrug it off and admit you were outplayed and the better team that day won. But when it's a gut-wrenching loss like Super Bowl XLIX, you're just left feeling helpless as you go from preparing to leap out of your seat in celebration to a look of disgust in a matter of seconds.
You can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half. http://t.co/oNzmH2w83U pic.twitter.com/dj0LJXOLS4— SB Nation (@SBNation) February 2, 2015
But behind agony and defeat comes perspective. The Ducks have become one of college football's elite programs. Since the 2009 season, Oregon has played in three Rose Bowls, a Fiesta Bowl and two national championships. Since 2012, the Seahawks have won two straight NFC West titles, appeared in two Super Bowls (winning one) and nearly reached an NFC title game appearance after a miracle comeback. It wasn't long ago that such sustained success seemed impossible to both fan bases.
While the wounds are fresh for both Ducks and Seahawks fans, 2015 has been an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture. Both teams should have successful seasons this upcoming fall. The Seahawks are already being touted as a favorite to return to the Super Bowl. The Ducks, while faced with the seemingly impossible task of replacing Marcus Mariota, have plenty of returning key pieces to their most recent national championship run. You know the old saying, it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
There are scores of fan bases out there that wish their team was even good enough to reach the position the Ducks and Seahawks found themselves in this year. For Oregon, fans got to witness Marcus Mariota win the first Heisman Trophy in school history before going on to snap Florida State's winning streak at the Rose Bowl. For Seahawks fans, they saw their team come one play away from clinching their second straight Super Bowl win. And for both fan bases, that's pretty special.
So cheer up, Ducks and Seahawks fans. It's going to be a long offseason, but not because we all have to sulk about what could have been. It's because the 2015 season is a clean slate. It's why we keep coming back year after year, even when we get kicked into the dirt. Fans of these teams from the dark years can attest to just what a special time it is for these teams. So rather than look back, lets take a step back and look at what lies ahead, because I have a feeling there's something magical out there waiting for us.