SANTA CLARA -- Joe Staley says he's never cried during a sporting event. Well, except that one time in New Orleans.
Staley and the 49ers trailed by five points in Super Bowl XLVII with 2:39 remaining. Frank Gore had just broken loose on a 33-yard run down to the Baltimore 7-yard line. The 49ers never had led in the game but the momentum had turned in their favor and they believed they were going to win.
"We were all in the huddle saying, 'We're about to have a parade. We're about to be Super Bowl champions,’" Staley recalled. "Then we lost."
Following a short run by LaMichael James, Colin Kaepernick threw three straight incompletions to Michael Crabtree on the right side of the field and San Francisco turned the ball over on downs.
The 49ers did have a quarterback run called in the sequence and Kaepernick, darting to his left, seemed to have a jump on the Baltimore defense. But Jim Harbaugh called timeout just as the ball was being snapped and the play was blown dead.
Would he have scored? "Oh, no question," Staley said.
Receiver Torrey Smith, of course, was on the winning side that day. Neither he nor then teammate Anquan Boldin bring up the game in the 49ers locker room, but images from the game have been flashing on the many flat-screen televisions in the locker room this week.
“Joe (Staley) jokes with me -- because they’re playing it on NFL Network -- and he’s like, ‘You didn’t deserve that,’ joking about the game,” Smith said.
Staley is one of only six current 49ers who started the Super Bowl 32 months ago.
“I never cried in a sporting event ever in my life besides that moment,” he said. “Thanks for bringing that up.”