It’s a feeling that 31-of-32- teams in the NFL feel at the end of each season.
For the Colts, pundits thought that feeling wouldn’t come in the playoffs but Indianapolis defied those odds by earning a spot into the postseason.
Just 30 minutes after having your season come to an end isn’t the ideal time to reflect on the past year but the Colts players know that the growth created in 2012 will lead to a motivational offseason.
“Hopefully, this is a good learning stone for us. Hopefully we can take this and take this season and learn from it, good and bad,” wide receiver Reggie Wayne said.
“We’re such a young team, we got the feel of it, we got what a playoff game feels like, especially on the road. So we can use this as a learning tool and we’ll have a bad taste in our mouth this offseason. And hopefully we can capitalize on that.”
Wayne has been through this ordeal before in suffering a playoff defeat before coming back and returning to make a deeper run in the postseason the following season.
The veterans made sure to speak up following Sunday’s 24-9 AFC Wild Card defeat in delivering a message they hoped resonates with their younger teammates.
“We just said remember how this feels, so that when next year gets here we won’t have to go through this,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Just remember how we ended the season, when we’re lifting weights, do whatever we have to do so that next year we can just keep it going.”
Along with the players, Sunday’s contest brought an end to an extremely emotional season for the Colts coaching staff.
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was not able to attend the game on Sunday after being taken to a local Baltimore hospital earlier that morning.
It was another case of ‘next man up’ for the Colts and Chuck Pagano will head into his first complete NFL offseason as a head coach with the itch of wanting to get back to work in continuing to ‘build the monster.’
“I just, and again, remember this feeling,” Pagano said of what he told his players in the postgame locker room. “Because we’ve got the foundation, the foundation is set. We said we were going to build one on rock and not on sand, because you can weather storms like this and you can learn from times like this.”
“The disappointment and the feelings that they all have right now, that’s what is going to propel us to 2013. That’s what’s going to motivate us to come back and work even harder. We’ve got a young group, as you know, and we’ve got a bright future.”
Tags: Antione Bethea, chuck pagano, Reggie Wayne
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