INDIANAPOLIS – When the Colts walked into the locker room at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Monday, a present was waiting for them.
It was an early holiday gift and they can thank themselves for earning hats embroidered with "AFC South Champions".
For a few Colts veterans, the hats are something they've grown accustomed to over the years but that doesn't mean they are taken for granted.
"I've been fortunate enough to be on some good teams here," safety Antoine Beteha says. "Hard work pays off. Great organization. Great team. Great players. There's always teams out there that wished they were in the same position we were in.
"Happy to be AFC South Champs."
Bethea, Robert Mathis and Adam Vinatieri have a combined 37 years of NFL experience.
Adam Vinatieri (18 years)
11 (5 with Colts)
Robert Mathis (11 years)
Antoine Bethea (8 years)
Days like Monday have been frequent for their careers, so what exactly do the players do with their piles of division title hats and t-shirts.
"I got some. My dad's got some, give them to the old man to let him enjoy it as well," Bethea said. "For the most part, when I build my house it's going to be something that I can keep for old time's sake."
Mathis has eight such hats with the Colts and for him, the keepsake will remain with him once the cleats are hung up.
"They are going to mean a lot when you look back and just reflect on it. It's going to go a long way," Mathis said.
A little further down in the locker room, the 40-year old Vinatieri observed the hat very closely before offering where its next destination might be.
"I'll wear them for a while, then sign them and give them to my family or something like that. These are cool. They will be fun to wear around for a little while but they will get passed along to one of my family members who loves this stuff."
As Vinatieri creased the bill and scoured every side of the hat, he thought of the "other" hats that he has received on four different occasions over his 18-year career.
"You work hard all season long to get hats and t-shirts in your lockers. Obviously, we've achieved one of our goals and that's to get into the playoffs but we've got a long way to go still."
"These are great but the only one that really matters is the Big Boy."