Losing Super Bowl teams always believe they will be back. This doesn't usually happen, but the 49ers believe more than most because of a loaded roster, a young franchise quarterback and a still somewhat new coach who has only known NFL success.
"It drives us," tight end Vernon Davis said. "When you get that close, get a chance to smell it and see what it's all about, you want to do it again. That's the exciting thing about it, the unique thing about it. We know what it's like, so going into the next one we know what to expect. We know what we have to do.
"We have to move on. We can't dwell on something like that. Obviously, it wasn't our time."
There is no guarantee that the 49ers ever will get that close to a title again. The Patriots got close last year, but no Super Bowl loser has made it back the following year since the 1990s Buffalo Bills.
It's hard to imagine a Super Bowl hangover from a team with so much talent, but the NFC looks loaded at the top. It's a long way back to five yards away from a title.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.