From the mind of owner Jim Irsay, the Indianapolis Colts are proudly displaying a “2014 AFC Finalist” banner at Lucas Oil Stadium just months after getting eviscerated in the AFC Championship game by the New England Patriots, 45-7.
To say this is a violation of an unspoken sports code is the understatement of the year. There are four types of banners in sports that should be hung up in a stadium or arena.
- Championship runner-up
- Retired jerseys
- Division titles (optional)
When the New England Patriots went 16-0 during the 2007 regular season and lost Super Bowl XLII, they opted to hang a banner to commemorate the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history. EVEN THAT’S A STRETCH.
However, I get it. No team ever did it before. It made sense.
This act by the Colts? No.
Nothing smacks of desperation or “we long to be world champions again” quite like this. Yet, this isn’t Indy’s first rodeo with celebrating near misses.
The Colts have finalist banners for losing the 1995 and 2003 AFC title games hanging in Lucas Oil as well. Almost getting to the Super Bowl is in no way worthy of celebration. That especially holds true considering New England beat Indianapolis within an inch of their collective football lives.
I’d have more respect for the Colts if they hung a banner that simply said “Deflategate.” At least that celebrates something tangible and takes courage.
This is like giving little Billy a participation trophy for Little League.
So, Indy’s greatest contributions to the NFL offseason are starting the Deflategate mess and putting up an “AFC Finalist” banner.
Somebody wants to sit at the cool kids’ table again and is too impatient to wait their turn.