Is playoff defeat a necessary evil?

Routine, Yukelson said, is boring, but it's also vital. Yukelson points to Belichick's annual routine of saying that everyone starts a new season at the bottom and tries to climb their way up. Belichick says that regardless of the previous season's results. Then he gives his team a plan to win, a plan his players believe in.

"That's what it's about," Yukelson said. "It's boring. But it keeps focus. It's distraction control with the media. It's how you build and execute."

That focus, that drive is what matters.

"I've always felt like each season is its own deal," Manning said. "Maybe what happened the year before helps get you through the offseason, your OTAs, minicamp, training camp, but once you get into a new season, it's all about how you execute, prepare, do the work in that season.

"You'd like to think you get better at preparing, learn more about what you need to do and try to be better than you were the year before. It's more about learning what you need to do as a player, as a team to win.

"But no matter the motivation, it's always really going to come down to did you put the work in? Put the time in? And did you execute when it was time to play the game?''

The ones who do the best job of growing from defeat are the ones who bounce back.

Defeat isn't a prerequisite for winning, but it can fuel the desire to improve that leads to winning.

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