Especially the Kansas City Chiefs, who believe they have the makings of a championship roster after winning 11 straight games this past season.
"We do feel very, very good about where the team is," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said before the Super Bowl, per ESPN.com. "We're disappointed not to be playing this weekend. We do believe we have a team that was capable of doing it. It's probably a good reminder of how important it is to win the division and to get one of those byes. I think some of the injuries we had in the last game of the season up in New England impacted the team, and if you get that bye you get the chance to get those guys healthy."
Kansas City can also draw inspiration from the Broncos, who scattered the Panthers with a smothering defense that unleashed playoff fury against Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Cam Newton. The Chiefs remain a limited club offensively, but another draft and free-agent haul could change that.
"I do think we have a lot of the ingredients that you need in order to make it to the Super Bowl, namely a great head coach and his coaching staff, a quality quarterback and a tough defense," Hunt said. "I think we have those ingredients and we have a lot of players who are entering the prime of their careers, and hopefully we'll be playing in Super Bowl LI next year."
First things first, the team must decide which of their 15 unrestricted free agents are worth fighting to re-sign. The group includes Pro Bowlers Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry along with cornerback Sean Smith, offensive lineman Jeff Allen and emerging defensive lineman Jaye Howard.
With the Chiefs in the "best cap shape we've been in for a few years," Hunt believes the roster will continue to mesh. They're far from the favorites in the AFC, but Kansas City can point toward last season for hope as it continues to add key pieces.