Your reward, after one hell of an afternoon: a few slices of pizza and a beer. A night out to celebrate the biggest win of the season? No chance. You’re spent. So you retreat to your downtown condo with your girlfriend, your mom and your dad. You order in. Spirits are high. This victory might just be the one that turns everything around.

“That’s who we need to be,” you said of your football team a few hours earlier, and you were right.

But it took so much. None of the 66,985 fans who packed Lucas Oil Stadium that afternoon saw the pain-killing injections you’d been taking before games for weeks, shots that eased the agony of playing quarterback in the NFL with torn cartilage in two of your ribs. None knew of the guilt that weighed heavily on your mind all week. “I feel like I failed him,” you’ll later admit of Pep Hamilton, your offensive coordinator for four-plus seasons at Stanford and with the Indianapolis Colts. He'd been fired six days earlier.