INDIANAPOLIS –While his play certainly wouldn't indicate it, Robert Mathis' chances to "hoist the Lombardi" again is nearing a close.
Mathis, an 11-year veteran, will play in his 17th career postseason game on Saturday afternoon and is letting his lone goal be known.
"We want to win a Super Bowl. Point. Blank. Period," Mathis said on Monday. "Getting to the playoffs is an accomplishment but that's not what we signed up for. We signed up for New York, so that's our goal."
It's been a career-year for Mathis. His 19.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles topped the NFL this year.
He has helped lead a defensive turnaround that has forced 12 more turnovers this year in moving from 26th to 3rd in turnover margin.
"To be a good defense, you got to get turnovers," Mathis says. "That's one of the foundations of being a good defense, getting the ball into your quarterback's hands. And we have a quarterback that can do some good things with it. So to be able to wrestle the ball away from the offense and get those extra possessions, it helps our team tremendously."
Over the last two weeks, a pair of players that have been joining Mathis in opposing backfields are Jerrell Freeman and Josh McNary.
Mathis appreciates players like Freeman and McNary who like their defensive leader have traveled unusual paths to the NFL.
"It means our scouting department needs MVP trophies (laughs)," Mathis says of the hidden gems.
"If you're hiding under a rock or in a cave, they're going to find you. If you can get to the quarterback, if you can hit a receiver, knock somebody out, they'll find you. And so they did a good job and it's just been a big year for us."
The Colts defense heads into January playing arguably its best football of the year.
The unit has allowed 20 points in the last 12 quarters of action, forced eight turnovers and piled up 12 sacks.
Those numbers come off a stretch in which the Colts defense was forced with some self-evaluating in every unit.
After struggling for consistency following the team's bye week, Mathis said the Colts held a players only meeting to "mesh" as a defense.
"Accountability. No personnel shifts. No change in schemes. No world-changing type of deals. It's just holding guys accountable," Mathis said of the meeting. "If you're not doing your job, you're going to be called out within ourselves, not in the media or anything like that. It's guys being accountable.
"Guys come from different places, different backgrounds and so they just had to come together for one common goal. We were able to end the season on a high note and just try to take it into the postseason."
Mathis' 16 games of postseason experience is double that of every Colts starter besides Antoine Bethea (11 games).
When the countdown clock ticks inside of a half hour until kickoff on Saturday, Mathis will be the man in the middle of the Colts huddle.
It will serve as one final message in letting his Colts teammate know the opportunity that is at hand and what can be achieved over the next month.
"The whole atmosphere's electric from beginning to end, pregame, halftime, postgame, everything is just magnified," Mathis says of the playoffs.
"Just a win-or-go-home type of deal."