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Comparing the Spurs' Finals loss to the Seahawks' loss in the Super Bowl

The Spurs have just one loss in six trips to the NBA Finals, but what a loss it was. How does the Seattle Seahawks' defeat on Sunday night compare to San Antonio's grief in 2013?

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Would you rather be hit by a bus or a train?  That is the only way to begin this discussion.

What was a more devastating loss?   This year's Super Bowl for Seahawks fans, or Game Six in the 2013 Finals for Spurs' fans?

As someone who was rooting for both the Seahawks and the Spurs, I might be in a good position to judge.  But then again, maybe not.  I am a hoops guy to my soul, and not a football guy to nearly the same degree.  I am also a Spurs fan to my soul, while only a casual Seahawks fan.  Remembering how I felt after Game Six, I would definitely "choose" Game Six as the worst.  As I wrote the morning after Game Six:

"L.A. playground hoops legend and all-around good guy Mike Ross was nice enough to email me this afternoon asking if I was OK after last night's ending. My response:

"Took a walk last night, looked at the stars, wondered why we care so much about a bunch of strangers 3000 miles away playing a game that doesn't affect our lives in the slightest.

Then had trouble sleeping."

I am sure many Seahawk fans spent Sunday night after the Super Bowl like I did in June 2013 - walking around, looking at the stars, and then not sleeping.  Many of them had made the trek to Arizona, which is why the game sounded at times like a Seattle home game.  Those poor people had to endure their suffering in a strange desert landscape so different than the trees and rain of the Pacific Northwest.  Perhaps they were thinking that the Seattle coaches had some strange desert dust in their brains when they decided the best way to win the game was by passing the ball when only thirty-six inches from a Super Bowl ring.

Let's compare the losses:


Seahawks definitely win here. Their loss was the end of the season.  The Spurs still had a Game Seven to play - and they almost won that one.


Spurs definitely win this category.  Twice in the final 30 seconds of Game Six the Miami Heat totally bricked 3 pointers, but each time the brick then bounced away from Spurs and towards a Heat player.  Each time that unfortunate carom led to yet another 3 pointer, each of which the Heat made.  That still makes me crazy.  The Seahawks, on the other hand, got the good bounces.  In particular, the juggling catch by Kearse that got the Seahawks to the Patriot 5 with a minute left was either one of the great catches of all time, or the luckiest.  Unfortunately, based on what happened next, it became a mere footnote.


Both the Heat and the Patriots were teams that many love to hate.  Especially this year, with yet another cheating scandal, the Patriots became, for many, Public Enemy number one.  Which is exactly how many viewed the Heat, with Lebron and his ill-advised "Decision" and the bloated and arrogant formation of the Big Three.  This one I think is a push.


The Seahawks had a ten point lead entering the 4th quarter, and had the best defense on the planet to protect that lead.  Seahawk fans had to be feeling very confident.  Tom Brady then shredded that defense in the 4th quarter.  Ouch.  However, when the "big play" happened (the interception), the Seahawks were losing.  Even if they ran the ball, there was no guarantee they would have scored.  The Spurs had their 5 point lead with less than 30 seconds to go, on the cusp of winning the ring.  Instead, the Spurs saw the lead disappear when Lebron made his "second chance" three to cut the lead to 2, and Ray Allen made his step-back three to tie it, both off weird rebounds.  Add to that the three missed free throws by Manu and Kawhi in the last forty seconds (each went 1 for 2, Manu twice). I think the Spurs win this category.


I almost feel bad including this category, because I don't think Pop did anything wrong in the last minute of Game Six.  Nonetheless, there is the urban myth that the Spurs lost because Tim Duncan wasn't on the floor to rebound the two Miami misses.  What the myth ignores is that TD would have been 25 feet from the rim when the misses happened - his man would have been setting the ball-screen for the three point shooter - and that is something Diaw defends better than Duncan. Staying with Duncan, as the urban myth now suggests, would have made it more likely that the Heat make the first shot, and not need the rebounds.  Compare that to the Seahawks decision to throw "that pass" at that time in the Super Bowl.  While I have heard some commentators defend throwing "a pass" there, almost everyone who does so then makes it clear that it should have been a play-action after faking to Lynch, or a fade, or a roll-out with the most mobile quarterback in the NFL.  So while the Spurs' coaching mistake is an urban myth, the Seahawks' coaching blunder is virtually a consensus.  Seahawks win this round.


While Game Six had the Ray Allen thunderbolt, that shot only tied the game.  Previously, the Spurs had the missed free throws, the offensive rebounds, and only then the Allen three-pointer.  But that wasn't all.  The Spurs got the ball with 5 seconds left, but an injured and tired Tony Parker couldn't make his shot at the buzzer - and then the game went into OT.  Even then the Spurs had the hope of winning Game Seven, a hope that only died when TD missed the chippie in the last minute.  A slow death, with various points of great anguish.  In contrast, Seahawks fans, without any warning about what was about to occur, went from " we are about to win the Super Bowl" to "oh my God, we lose" in an instant.  According to some stats I have seen, the Seahawks went from a 90% win probability to a 1% win probability -- in one play.  Or put another way, millions of voices in Seattle (and Las Vegas, for that matter) cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.


My ex-player Michael Jordan (no, not that Michael Jordan) pointed out an interesting parallel. The Spurs and Seahawks both have a championship to fall back on.  The Seahawks have the cushion of having won it last year.  They have that good memory to look back on, which surely helped cushion that lonely post-game walk.  When the Spurs lost, there was a strong sense they this was their last chance.  The last best chance to win another ring, and they blew it.  At the moment it happened, the Spurs loss hurt more. Much more. Of course, we did not know then, like we know now, that redemption was on the way, as recounted here.


I asked my basketball group which loss was the worst.  The best answer I got is the one I will go with:

"They were both horrible."