"If if was a fifth, we all would be drunk right now."
Those were the words of Warriors forward Draymond Green back in the summer of 2015, weeks after he and Golden State had won their first of three championships in a four-year span. He'd had enough of the insinuations that their title was somehow clouded by an asterisk -- that, if injuries had played out differently, a different outcome would have occurred.
History is written by the victors. Hypotheticals are a losing man's game.
The 2012 San Francisco 49ers would love to have the benefit of Green's perspective. Unfortunately for them, when it comes to reliving their championship pursuit, hypotheticals are all they have.
What happens if Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree connect on that corner fade in the end zone in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLVII? What happens if they hand the ball off to Frank Gore instead?
What if the power outage occurs earlier, or not at all?
If the 49ers win that game, does Jim Harbaugh sign a lengthy extension? Does Patrick Willis retire?
If Kaepernick establishes himself as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, how is he remembered differently, both as an athlete and a public citizen?
Two current NBC Sports Bay Area analysts who were members of that 2012 49ers team -- safety Donte Whitner and defensive lineman Ian Williams -- recently sat down to play the what-if game about the biggest night of their playing careers.
In many ways, their responses go to show how drastically the franchise was altered by that fateful night in New Orleans.
"We are primetime in San Francisco," Williams said of the hypothetical scenario in which the 49ers won Super Bowl XLVII. "We are primetime in the Bay Area. Once you start stringing them on you start getting free agents who want to come along, similar to what Golden State's going through right now with DeMarcus Cousins."
"If we had won, (Harbaugh) signs an extension," Williams continued. "Whatever happens upstairs doesn't happen and he's still the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers."
"If Kaepernick gets a Super Bowl under his belt, I don't know if his career changes because who knows if he'll still take a stand for social injustice," Whitner questioned. "I don't think winning a Super Bowl would allow him not to be blackballed and not play in the NFL. I believe they would still do that whether he won a Super Bowl in the past or you're going to win one in the future.
"He'll go in down in history as one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League and he led his team to a championship. Nobody can take that away from him."
Fast-forward seven-plus years, and the ways in which the 49ers franchise was transformed by that loss in Super Bowl XLVII are readily apparent.
Patrick Willis retired during the following season, surprising many. Harbaugh and the 49ers separated following an 8-8 finish, took the job at the University of Michigan and has been there ever since. Gore has spent the twilight of his Hall of Fame career overlooked in Indianapolis and Miami. Crabtree just got cut by none other than the Ravens. And Kaepernick, well, he hasn't played a down in two seasons, and reportedly recently agreed to a settlement with the NFL.
It's a fun what-if game. But you don't have to be able to read the tea leaves to know that winning Super Bowl XLVII would have been a lot more enjoyable.