It wasn't the ending that most of the people inside Arrowhead Stadium wanted on Sunday night, when the Kansas City Chiefs' season was cut short after a 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
While there's only one way a team's season can end and not be filled with disappointment, the loss on Sunday night is going to take some time to get over for coaches, players and fans.
They went toe to toe with one of the league's best and fell just a handful of plays short, as is the case with most good NFL games.
The Chiefs found the end zone twice and held one of the NFL's most potent offenses out of the end zone entirely, but six field goals by the Steelers proved to be enough to send them to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots next week in the AFC title game.
After the game, the Chiefs' locker room consisted of hugs, well wishes and the questions of what might have been.
In his press conference after the game, Chiefs coach Andy Reid shared what he'll remember most about this particular group of players.
"I think the mental toughness of the team," Reid explained. "I'm not going to say they're the most talented team or that, but they're gritty. They'll battle you. Backups came in, you saw it on the defensive line, you saw with the linebackers, guys in the secondary, corner, offensive line when Zach [Fulton] came in, you just saw guys buckle down and battle.
"They did that today. We just came up shorter than we wanted to and that we normally do."
This is a Chiefs team that developed an identity over the season of making the improbable game-changing play at the most opportune time, consistently winning games in thrilling fashion and overcoming what seemed like insurmountable odds.
When asked, Reid couldn't help but admit that it feels like the Chiefs missed a good opportunity this year.
"When you come out of these, when you've gotten this far, that's how you feel," Reid explained. "Unless you win the Super Bowl that's how you feel. I've been there. Unless you're holding the trophy, there is an empty feeling to it.
"Not a lot of teams got this far though. You're working today and there's a lot of guys not working around the country. Let's not forget that too."
"This is the best football team I have played on, by far," veteran Jeremy Maclin said after the game. "We have nobody to blame but ourselves."
The Chiefs finished the regular season with a 12-4 record and won the AFC West division for the first time since 2010.
In his first four years leading the Chiefs, Reid's teams have gone from a playoff appearance (2013), to a playoff win (2015) and then a division title and first-round bye (2016), which means this team is progressing forward and has improved each year from the next.
That said, this still doesn't take the current sting away from wondering what might have been with this particular group of players.
"I think we all felt like that," quarterback Alex Smith said. "Big, big opportunity for us. We knew what we were capable of. Certainly, offensively, we didn't hold up our end tonight. Didn't get it done. I thought we had a chance to come back there, and obviously, put it into overtime or a shot, and we came up short.
"Last year, we talked about if you could get home-field advantage what an advantage that is, and we had it this year. Regardless of what happened at the end of the game, we had our opportunities. So, you have to figure out a way to take the next step—figure out a way to get past that."