Will the Lions roar again in future?
John Smit probably put it best.
Asked whether Lions tours are still relevant in this professional age, the Springboks captain was unequivocal.
"Without a doubt," he said. "It has been an amazing experience from start to finish,
and I still think it is one of the most prized spectacles rugby union has to offer.
"The spirit in which it is based, the toughness of the games, the competitiveness of the series, how close it was at the end of the day...wow, there are not a lot of top-notch games out there that can provide what a Lions series can provide."
Amen to that you might say.
But are the Lions merely the remnants of a great and noble tradition, or still the living embodiment of it?
This 2009 pride have worked hard and played hard, on and off the pitch. To a man they say it has been hugely enjoyable, the best experience available to a British or Irish rugby player.
Some may question whether enjoyment is important in itself, if winning the series is the bottom line, which ultimately they failed to achieve.
But friendship and camaraderie, on the field and in the stands, as well as a proud and competitive team, are traditionally the hallmarks of Lions tours.
The 2001 Lions were fiercely competitive in another thrilling series, but not many players look back on that tour of Australia under Graham Henry with any fondness.
Likewise Sir Clive Woodward's bloated 2005 operation will forever be regarded as a betrayal of the Lions' best traditions.
It is a delicate balance, one Ian McGeechan appears to have struck again in restoring credibility to the whole concept, even if he could not muster a series victory.
His overall record as head coach on four tours now reads: Played 12 Tests, won six, lost six. Two series wins, two defeats.
I asked him after Saturday's final Test if there was any chance we may see him on his eighth Lions tour in Australia in 2013. "Probably not," he said, with his trademark grin. Only "probably" mind, not "definitely".
He will be 66 by then, and could be excused anyway if he wanted no further part in the political machinations required to give the next tourists a "fair crack" in their preparation.
Coming within a last-second penalty of at least a drawn series might have organisers of domestic and European competitions wondering why the Lions need more time, when they have proved to be so competitive after just five weeks together.
But if they have done so in glorious defiance of the odds stacked against them, imagine how they might fair with even a slight wind in their favour?
"It shouldn't be outside the wit of those concerned to plan for it two years out from it, as you do for a World Cup, in season structure and everything else," McGeechan said.
"I think the Lions deserve that. These players have proved, if you look at how they see the Lions jersey and the support out there, that you should give it a fair chance."
A brief contemplation of which players the next Lions coach might be working with could be enough to tempt him for one (more) last hurrah.
This 2009 squad arrived in South Africa with arguably only one genuinely world-class player in Brian O'Driscoll, and still very nearly toppled the world champions.
They leave it with a clutch of players who, if not in that category already, will be close to being regarded so if they continue to build on their progress here.
Fitness and form permitting, it would be a surprise if Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Jamie Roberts and Mike Phillips were not in the Lions backline four years hence.
Welsh front-rowers Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones all enhanced their reputations, while Alun-Wyn Jones, Stephen Ferris, Tom Croft and Jamie Heaslip should all be at their peak in 2013.
Young guns such as Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls, Leigh Halfpenny and James Hook should be also the richer for having experienced a Lions tour at a tender age.
Even some of the older stagers such as O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell, inspired by the example of Simon Shaw, may be tempted to try to keep going for one last shot at a series victory.
But if the Lions are to roar again, they also need the country hosting them to treat them as a precious sporting commodity rather than just a money-spinning one.
Commercially, there is no doubt the Lions are a huge cash cow for the country they visit, and the dangers of over-exploiting have been brought home here.
The average attendance across all 10 matches in South Africa, including the three Tests, was just under 35,000.
But while the first four games featured a couple of close shaves and two try-laden wins featuring the majority of what would become the Lions Test XV, they were also notable for less-than-half-full grounds and host teams weakened by the absence of their top players, who the Springbok management kept under wraps.
Both detracted from the spectacle, and will form a key part of the discussions the Lions board will hold with the Australian Rugby Union before 2013.
Lions chief executive John Feehan admits it is "a case of persuasion rather than force" when it comes to the issue of whether the Wallabies stars will feature against the visitors in the provincial games.
"We will be pointing out to them that it is in everyone's interests - the Lions and the host union - to play the full range of players," he said.
Not only would it help the tourists in their preparation for the Test matches, it may also offer a greater incentive for local fans to pay the higher prices inflicted by host unions on supporters attending Lions matches.
It was only in the fifth match of this tour against Western Province, a week before the first Test, that an influx of fans made it feel like a 'proper' Lions match.
While 230 Rand (£18) a ticket for that game might seem reasonable to those of us attending sporting events in the UK, it was three times the normal price at Newlands.
When it came to the Test series, tickets were 1150 Rand (nearly £90), when the previous highest the South African Rugby Union had charged, for last year's Tri-Nations Test with New Zealand, was 450 Rand (£35).
"It is fair to say they got the strategy wrong," Feehan said. "Quite frankly, they over-priced it. I think they took for granted that since the Lions were here, the stadiums would be full. But most of our fans turn up for the last two or three weeks."
While accurate figures are hard to come by, Feehan estimates that "well over 30,000" Lions fans attended games before Saturday's final Test, when more arrived.
With virtually every one of them wearing a replica shirt, the Lions expect to turn over a "reasonably significant" profit from the tour. " I am sure each of the home unions will be very happy to share in the benefits," as Feehan put it.
So should the Lions play more or less games than 10? The former seems unlikely given the increasing physical demands on players, so there may be merit in two-time Lion Keith Wood's suggestion of "a seven-match tour, all Saturdays, four big warm-up games followed by the three Tests."
Then again, you may share the view of Lions scrum coach Graham Rowntree, who believes removing midweek matches would "take away one of the true values and the actual spirit of the tour".
"The Lions must go on in its full entirety and that must include mid-week games," he said.
Whatever the future holds in terms of matches, one thing is clear. Wherever the Lions play, and however often, their crimson army of supporters will be there in droves.
As someone (hopeandrugby) said on this blog on Friday: "There is no other sporting event in the world where 30,000 supporters follow a team for three weeks solid no matter what the results are. Long live the Lions ethos and let's start planning for Aus."
Couldn't agree more. See you all again in 2013.