Colin Kaepernick finished 5 yards short of a Joe Montana finish, and close doesn't count when you're measuring immortality.

Five yards short might as well be five million, because there's only one Montana and there are all kinds of guys who have fallen short.

Nobody knew that better than Kaepernick himself in the minutes after the 49ers' frenetic 34-31 loss to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII.

He came to his assigned podium. He sat in the chair. He answered the questions.

And his entire mood was clear: The 49ers blew one, and the 49ers aren't supposed to do that in the Super Bowl. Any Super Bowl. Ever.

How long will this sting, Colin?

"For the rest of my life," Kaepernick said sharply.

He added a slight questioning tone at the end of that answer, as if he wasn't 100 percent sure about the eternal pain of this one but could guess.

Montana's drive to win Super Bowl XXIII is a piece of NFL and 49ers legend.

And so are Montana's three other titles and the one by Steve Young.

This is a forever-miss on Kaepernick's ledger; he's the first 49ers QB to lose a Super Bowl, and there's no getting away from it.

But then the 49ers' young quarterback tossed in a note for the future, and to signify that the anger of this defeat will drive him and this franchise to larger things.