As every year, only one NFL team avoided ending the 2021 season in disappointment. But there was also only one team that lost to the worst team in the league with a playoff spot on the line in Week 18 last year.
Those were the Indianapolis Colts. With that loss, one might expect the Colts to feel extra pressure this season. But head coach Frank Reich said that while there’s always pressure in the NFL, he and the team aren’t feeling it any more than usual heading into the 2022 season.
“I feel the urgency to win now after what happened last year,” Reich told Zak Keefer and Stephen Holder the athlete in her podcast. “But it’s not because of how last year ended.”
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The NFL is a “What have you been up to lately?” business. It’s also a business, measured almost overwhelmingly by championships.
So there is already pressure in the NFL. Rich hinted during the Colts podcast the athlete that nothing the team did last season adds or takes away any of that for this fall.
“Of course there is a winning pressure. It should be so. That’s what you sign up for,” Reich said. “We all know what you have to do and we all know what happens when you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.
“This is the NFL, your job security is day to day. When you sign up as a head coach, you know that, you embrace that, you embrace that.
Reich has a 37-28 record in four seasons as head coach at Indianapolis. Keefer and Stephen Holder said on their podcast that those 37 wins rank in the top 10 across the league during his tenure. Reich has also led the Colts to two playoff appearances.
There will now be pressure on Reich, especially as the Colts add several key figures this offseason, including Matt Ryan, Stephon Gilmore and Yannick Ngakoue, to take Indianapolis to the next step — winning the AFC South and at least advancing to the AFC Championship the first time in franchise history since 2014.
Indianapolis will start the season with two street matchups against division opponents. That includes a return trip to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars.
Including the Week 18 loss at the end of the 2021 season, the Colts have lost seven straight games in Jacksonville. A win over the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field in Week 2 would greatly boost the Colts’ confidence going into the season.
But ultimately, winning the division and making the playoffs is more important. The Colts haven’t won the AFC South since 2014. In the past seven seasons, every other team in the division has won the crown at least once.
However, it’s fairly safe to say that Reich doesn’t think about that either. He feels the pressure to win because that’s always the expectation in the NFL.