As a fan, losing a championship game is the most painful experience one can go through. Watching a team fail after coming so tantalizingly close to becoming a champion is an experience that is best left to the imagination. Unfortunately, none of us have had to imagine since Sunday night. Coping with pain like this is never easy, but I'm here to help you navigate your way through the worst part of the storm.
If we're honest with ourselves, most of us began the denial process during the 3rd or 4th quarter, depending on your level of self-loathing. At this point, we have all experienced tough playoff losses and we can usually spot the signs of a loss before it happens, even as we root for the opposite to happen. All of those little mistakes that we swear to ourselves won't come back to hurt us at the end of the game keep piling up and piling up until finally the Colts make one mistake that can not be overcome...
There is no point in repeating what you said after Tracy Porter made that interception. You likely revealed a dark, dark side of yourself through what you said in the seconds after that fateful pass. You probably wish you could take back most, if not all of what you said right about now. Hopefully, you were surrounded by Colts fans who empathized with your pain, in which case no apologies are necessary. If you weren't alone during this stage of grief, you may want to consider buying some apology notes for those around you during that time of emotional vulnerability. Also, if you broke any furniture during this tender moment, you should probably reimburse them for their damages. And yes, gorging yourself on your neighbor's buffet counts as damages. If you consumed more than $5 worth of food within the half-hour following the interception, you should probably buy them a food item of equal value.
There is nothing wrong with bargaining, so long as it is done within reason. Telling yourself that Peyton Manning is still one of the finest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and believing the Colts will have another good shot at winning it all next season with a healthy Bob Sanders and Anthony Gonzalez are examples of good bargaining. Printing homemade Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl XLIV Champions T-shirts because you think Saints cheated by secretly employing Hank Baskett does not count as good bargaining.
This is the longest and most difficult stage of grief. The Colts won't play another meaningful game until September. That means there's no chance for the Colts to vindicate themselves and our emotions for another seven months. Hopefully you have other avenues to cope with this depression because going through depression for seven months isn't realistic or healthy. If you don't have a basketball or baseball team to invest yourself into, consider spending more time with your family. Hey, that's what they're there for, right?
I'll help you with this part once I get there.