Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera didn't hesitate. Following a 23-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, Rivera was asked whether or not the 2013 season was a success for the Panthers, who finished with 12 wins and the No. 2 seed in the NFC but failed to win a playoff game.
"Yes it was," Rivera said in his postgame press conference. "Thank you."
Rivera didn't sugarcoat anything, though. The Panthers lacked composure at times, and Rivera admitted that.
"I don't ever want anybody to come into our yard and push us around," Rivera said.
While Rivera wished his team hadn't done as much jawing after the whistle or taken as many penalties as it did, he thinks the game was another learning experience for a team that had a season full of them.
"We became a football team this year," Rivera said. "This game is not indicative of what our season was about."
With the loss behind them, what comes next will be another challenge for Rivera and the Panthers.
"If we don't learn from what happened today and we don't learn from what happened this year, we wasted the season," Rivera said. "We're not going to do that. We're going to get better. We're going to come back."