KRAVITZ: The Colts' new banner? Seriously, what's the big deal?

Pat McAfee signs autographs for fans Wednesday.
I've got a great idea for a new Colts banner, to be hung from the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium.


Released Trent Richardson

Or maybe this: Take that new 2014 AFC Finalist banner, the one that has everybody beside themselves, and hang a deflated football from the bottom of it.

Just, you know, for fun.

I'll be honest: I saw a bunch of people tweet out the existence of the new AFC Finalist banner Wednesday night and thought, "Yeah, so, they've been putting up banners for every playoff appearance since 1987. Why is this a thing NOW?''

Of course, when the Colts put up the 1995 AFC Finalist banner two decades ago, social media wasn't even an idea in somebody's head. We had social media in 2003, when the Colts put up a banner commemorating the AFC Title Game appearance against the New England Patriots, but those were kinder, gentler times. Now, in 2015, everybody in New England sits quietly and waits for the Colts to do something, anything that makes the Colts look bad or silly, and so this latest banner, which we saw for the first time Wednesday during the team's open practice, has become a target for the New England region's legion of snarky bloggers.

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Should I dare to mention that Gillette Stadium has a banner commemorating the team's 16-0 regular season record in 2007. Maybe you remember how that ended up. Eli Manning. David Tyree. Giants over the Pats in one of the great Super Bowl upsets.

Well, I don't have any problem with the Patriots' 16-0 banner – it's an amazing accomplishment – and I don't have any problem with the Colts commemorating a deep playoff run that ended in the most embarrassing manner conceivable, a 45-7 curb-stomping courtesy of you-know-who.

I didn't have a problem with them putting up a banner recalling the 1995 AFC Title game appearance, and loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I didn't have a problem with them putting up a banner recalling the 2003 AFC Title game appearance, and loss to the Patriots in Foxborough.

Last season's playoff run was something to celebrate and remember. Getting to the playoffs is difficult in this league, even if the Colts have made it look rather easy the last 15 years or so. Getting to the AFC Championship Game, reaching that Final Four, is really difficult. You can argue all you want that it was diminished by the fact the Bengals were missing key skill-position players, and that Peyton Manning wasn't exactly Peyton Manning when the Colts went to Denver and dominated the Broncos, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless.

Like going 16-0 in the regular season.

For which the Patriots fly a banner in Gillette Stadium.

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Look, if you want to take issue with the Colts, take issue with the Ring of Honor, which includes a handful of players, and one repugnant former owner, who don't really belong there. But a banner commemorating a season when the Colts fell one game short of reaching the Super Bowl, and that's the most embarrassing, the most Colts-like thing ever?


It seems to me the Patriots and their legion of pom-pom-wearing media should worry more about SpyGate, and Deflategate, and Aaron Hernandez, and Brandon Spikes. Not to mention the fact they've lost Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and Vince Wilfork and some other folks who made such a big impact during the team's glory years. But they're too busy going through the Wells Report with a fine-toothed combed, fully buying the Patriots' insistence that the “deflator'' mention simply referenced a guy who was trying to lose weight.

Right. I lost 16 pounds the last two months. I deflated. Doesn't everybody use that terminology?

But, hey, I get it. It's a slow time in the sports calendar. The Red Sox stink. What else is there to write about? The Cape Cod League?

Michael Hurley, a CBS writer and one of the foremost Deflategate deniers, wrote, “…when a person tweeted a photo at me on Wednesday evening of a banner hanging from Lucas Oil Stadium's rafters, I thought, `Oh. Well. Dear. Now that must be a fake.' But somehow, impossibly it was real. Very real. Unbelievably real…They hung a banner for that. Great googily moogily.''

Googily moogily.

I see a Pulitzer in his future.

Jerry Thornton of WEEI wrote: "This is a new low, even by their standards. This isn't a banner. It's a participation ribbon. It's celebrating something that one out of every eight NFL teams do every year. It's championing minor success. Worse, it's commemorating the kind of season that, when the Patriots do it, all of New England flips the hell out, insists the game has passed the coach by and starts demanding major changes. In Indy, it's a season they want to treasure forever.''

Personally, I think banners should be reserved for a few accomplishments. Division Champion – although the AFC South is the worst division in football, and therefore no great feat. Conference Champion – that's a big deal. Super Bowl Finalist – just getting there has to mean something. And, of course, Super Bowl Champion, which the Colts accomplished by beating the Chicago Bears in Miami on that rainy Sunday afternoon.

Simply making the playoffs ought to be a baseline expectation for this and every team, especially this team as it's presently constituted, and thus not terribly worthy of its own banner. Maybe do it like the Detroit Lions, who have two banners commemorating their playoff appearances, which have been few and far between.

This wouldn't be my choice; no it wouldn't. But I'm not ready to put it on blast, either, as our friends in New England have chosen to do. Again, they've got a 16-0 banner, so I'm not sure they've ascended the moral high ground. And couldn't you make a case that all those Patriots' Super Bowl banners ought to have asterisks affixed to them? Just asking for a friend.

Somehow, though, this has been cast as an example of the wussification of America, where we give out blue ribbons for participation to every good little boy and girl.

"This is the most Bob Kravitz banner I have ever seen,'' wrote a blogger named Turtleboy who write for something called

Which is funny. Right after this column, I'm going to hang a small banner in my home office to celebrate the end of this piece and the fact I'll be leaving for the Bahamas in a day's time. Because, you know, that's the way I roll.

See all Kravitz columns here.