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Colts raise “AFC Finalist” banner

I thought the headline was from The Onion, and that the image was the product of fairly rudimentary PhotoShop skills.

I was wrong on both counts.

The Colts have placed in the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium a banner that declares them “2014 AFC Finalist.”

While technically accurate, it’s not the typical cause for permanent celebration in a sport that values championships. The Colts didn’t win one last year, other than the AFC South crown.

Making the gesture even more curious is the team’s direct role in sparking the #DeflateGate controversy. But as noted by, it’s not the first time the Colts have commemorated a loss in the Conference Championship round; they also have banners for 1995 and 2003.

But this one carries extra weight because it serves as a reminder that the Patriots (according to investigator Ted Wells) cheated in the AFC title game by using underinflated footballs for the first half. It also will serve as a reminder to the Patriots when they arrive in October that the Colts instigated the investigation and ensuing punishment.

And that alone should have been enough to persuade the Colts to stick with a “2014 AFC South Champions” banner.