The 12-time Pro Bowler seemed to be in prime position to make a run of it this season with the 13-3 Broncos earning the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
But on Saturday, that dream was put on hold for another year when the Ravens topped the Broncos in double overtime to knock Denver out of the playoffs.
"When you come up short like that with a good team like this, you can only be disappointed," Bailey said.
Bailey said this year’s squad was the best team he has played for, but said that doesn’t matter since he and his teammates did not accomplish their goals.
“We got to the playoffs, but you've got to win in the playoffs for it to mean something,” he said. “It'll be just another year we came up short."
Part of what makes the loss so tough on Bailey are the couple of plays that he said he’d like to get back.
“It's tough, because I know I'm better than what I put on that tape yesterday,” said Bailey, who called himself his own biggest critic. “There are a couple plays I'd love to have back. But if you haven't been beaten as a corner, you really haven't played."
As with the rest of the locker room, Bailey plans to let the loss stew for a couple of days before refocusing on the offseason and gearing up for the 2013 campaign.
“It sucks,” Bailey said. “But we owe it to these fans and this city to try to get another one next year."
For a player who knows his NFL days are winding down, each year takes on a greater sense of urgency as he chases a title.
In his 14 seasons, Bailey has made it to the postseason five times. As a rookie, his Redskins team won its Wild Card matchup before falling in the Divisional Round. In 2005, the Broncos advanced to the AFC title game, but that’s as far as the future Hall-of-Famer has advanced.
"It gets tougher the older you get, because you know those chances get slim,” Bailey said. “Even for a young guy, they haven't experienced what I've experienced, but a lot of these guys don't know when they'll be back in the playoffs or have a chance like this. It sucks, but that's the reality of the business."