INDIANAPOLIS – The motivation began when vacation started last January, earlier than virtually anyone expected.
Spectating in the postseason isn't something the Colts are accustomed to over the last 15-20 years.
For some teams, salvaging a .500 season (after playing five quarterbacks), would offer more than a few flickers of encouragement heading into the next season.
Don't tell that to the Colts' leader, Robert Mathis.
"8-8 was not good enough by any stretch of imagination," Mathis said at the start of the Colts' offseason program. "So we have to come in and do what we're capable of and that's finish the job.
"We want to win the Super Bowl, make no bones about it. It's not a prediction, it's an expectation and we have to work towards it."
Last year was Mathis' 13th season in the NFL.
It was only the second time he wasn't playing meaningful football in January.
A few lockers down from Mathis, Andrew Luck explained his first viewing of the NFL playoffs at the professional level.
"You're just sitting on your butt and there's not much to do in January so not a good feeling," Luck says.
As tough as it may have been to play the what-if game, Luck tried to view last year's postseason as a learning experience.
For some Colts, like Luck, last year was the first time in the NFL that the playoffs were chapters left blank after another season was put on the shelf.
Monday was the Colts' early beginnings of putting pen to paper for this 2016 book.
Will this year's hardback be thicker?
"It's a hard place to get to," eight-year veteran Darius Butler says of the postseason. "I've been fortunate in my career to be there more times than I haven't, but just missing it last year, that's fresh in my mind.
"It was tough not to be there and obviously you don't want that feeling again."