Colts say '2014 AFC Finalist' banner is about 'pride'

An attempt by the Indianapolis Colts to celebrate last season was met with more than a few sidelong glances this week.

The team hung a banner from the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium honoring their "2014 AFC Finalist" status, pointing to a campaign that ended with a 45-7 AFC title game waxing at the hands of the New England Patriots.

The team was relentlessly snickered at on social media for the signage, but Colts COO Pete Ward says the decision to hang the banner boils down to one factor: "Pride."

"We have hung our playoff banners for nearly 30 years," Ward said, per Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star. "National media and visiting team media -- as well as media attending the combine and other major events -- have all seen our banners, so it's interesting that it is suddenly a news story."

Ward pointed to "pageantry for our stadium" as another factor, adding: "Winning in the NFL is extremely difficult, even more so to do it consistently, and recognizing an NFL playoff season -- regardless of the ending -- is an achievement to be proud of. A lot of teams would love to be in a position to recognize a playoff season. A Super Bowl banner is a different animal, and we treat it as such."

Much of the finger-pointing has come from New England, where Patriots fans -- no strangers to blissful seasons -- can't fathom why the Colts would magnify a run that ended without hoisting the Lombardi.

What a great point.

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