CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the first time in three years, someone other than the Seahawks will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. And for a team that was used to playing in the biggest game of the season, not making it three in a row came as a disappointment and a shock.

“You fight all year long for this opportunity,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We would like to be talking about winning this thing right now and going on. We had no intention of anything but that, never thought in our minds that we weren’t going on.”

How long has it been since the Seahawks sat out a Super Bowl? The last team before them to rep the NFC was the 49ers. And look at where they are now!

Winning has become such a way of life for the Seahawks that anything short of it is failure.

“We didn’t win the Super Bowl,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “I’m sure some teams would define this as a success. We had a chance to be special again. We didn’t get it done.”

Not even the stirring 24-points in the second half that brought the game within reach in the final minutes could help soothe their disappointment.

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“There are no moral victories,” receiver Doug Baldwin said.

“I hate to lose,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “If anyone hates to lose, I hate to lose.”