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Sunday, May 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A Grip on Sports: Will Super Bowl loss leave the 49ers with a hangover, as it has seemed to do recently for NFC teams that come up just short?

Kansas City’s Frank Clark (55) and Ben Niemann celebrate over San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the second half of Super Bowl 54 on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)
Kansas City’s Frank Clark (55) and Ben Niemann celebrate over San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the second half of Super Bowl 54 on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Thankfully, it was a good game. Competitive. Exciting. Tension-filled. Then the Lab ran over the Beagle and ruined everything. What, you thought I was talking about Super Bowl LIV and not the Puppy Bowl? OK, I was. Just making sure you were paying attention.

•••••••

• When it came down to it, there was no way anyone in our house could root for the 49ers. Sorry, pops. But c’mon. If they had won, it wouldn’t have been a good day for the regional team, would it? And there are Seahawk fans living under your son’s roof.

Besides, the way the year has been going, the 49ers were odds on favorites, with or without our support. As my eldest son said before the game began, “the football gods hate me, so the 49ers will win.”

Don’t we all feel that way once in a while? About the football gods, I mean. Heck, Sunday, those folks rooting for San Francisco must have cursed them just before halftime when George Kittle was called for offensive pass interference on a play that held the potential to change everything. Then, after the uplifting halftime show, Kansas City fans were questioning their faith in Patrick Mahomes following two consecutive interceptions.

And why not? In a game this close, there is an ebb and flow that destroys anyone’s confidence their team is going to win – unless, of course, yours is winning by 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Seahawk fans know your pain San Francisco faithful. In 2015, as Russell Wilson marched them down the field in the fourth quarter, a conviction took root. He was going to get the ball in the end zone and they were going to be celebrating back-to-back titles, the latter on over the Patriots.

Then the pick happened.

Nothing has been the same since. And look at what happened to the Rams after their vaunted offense never got out of first gear against the Pats just a year ago? This season, L.A. looked for most of the season about as explosive as a sparkler in a rainstorm.

So what awaits the 49ers? Does their dominating defense, shredded for three touchdowns down the stretch last night, start to fall apart like a pregame brisket? Does Jimmy G start second-guessing himself even more and become more like Mitch Trubisky than Tom Brady? Or do they bounce back and win the NFC West again?

History seems to point away from the last one. Winning the Super Bowl has seemed to be less debilitating to NFL teams than losing one, for whatever reason. The hangover for the runners up – especially those from the NFC – lasts longer and hit harder.

Here are the last five NFC Super Bowl losers going into yesterday: San Francisco (2013), Seattle (2015), Carolina (2016), Atlanta (2017) and Los Angeles (2019). Of those franchises, you could say the Hawks have had the best stretch since losing the game.

The Hawks are 50-29-1 since the fateful interception, which isn’t bad. The 49ers, even including this season’s 13-3 mark, are 46-62 since losing to Baltimore in the battle of the Harbaugh brothers in February, 2013. Carolina is six games under .500 in the past four years, Atlanta is at .500 the last three seasons and L.A. dropped to 9-7 this season.

Maybe the 49ers will repeat their performance in 2013-14 when they posted a 12-4 record and finished just behind Seattle in the West. It could happen. But probably not.

•••

Gonzaga: The Zags were understaffed and under a lot of duress Saturday night. And once again they will be underestimated come March. Jim Meehan looks back at the tough win in San Francisco. … Elsewhere in the WCC, TJ Haws is now a father. He was able to celebrate a home win over Saint Mary’s and the birth of his first child all in one weekend.

WSU: Things you can count on in the winter include snow in Pullman, rain in Seattle and two wins for the Stanford women over the Cougars. The Cardinal ran their winning streak to 67 over WSU yesterday. … Around the Pac-12, there was one game yesterday, with UCLA topping visiting Utah. The Bruins swept their weekend. … Washington needs a spark. … Colorado is right in the middle of the conference race. … The kids lead Arizona, but the Wildcats need their experienced players. … In football news, USC fired three defensive coaches on news-dump Sunday.

Seahawks: Hey, we can start looking ahead to next year. Who will be Russell Wilson’s backup?

•••       

• My favorite commercial yesterday? Well, Bill Murray with a groundhog is tough to beat. So is Drew Brees in a Steve Gleason T-shirt. Alexa through the years, Sam Elliott’s mustache and Jason Momoa shedding his movie personna were fun too. Otherwise, not much else stood out, mainly because I was cooking during Google’s heartbreaker. That might be a good thing. Who wants salty tears in their chili? Until later …

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