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The 10 Indiana sports stories for 2015

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Posted at 11:39 AM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 09:39:10-05

2015 was a remarkable year for sports in Indiana -- from almost-champions, to crazy injuries, to a scandal that had the rest of the country laughing.

We picked the 10 best sports stories of the year, beginning with … you guessed it:

Deflated Footballs and #Deflategate

Deflategate was not only the biggest sports story of the year for Indiana, but also probably the entire sports world.
So how did it get started?

RELATED | NFL: 'We are looking into' rumors of deflated balls from Patriots against Colts | NFL finds Patriots employees probably deflated balls | Report: 11 of 12 New England footballs deflated | Baltimore Ravens coach says team didn't tip off Colts about deflated footballs | Tom Brady suspension: Robert Kraft reiterates support for Brady after #DeflateGate suspension

The NFL began an investigation into the possibly deflated footballs shortly after the Colts lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game in January.

The investigation concluded with a four-game suspension for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady – which was later overturned by a federal judge. But not before the scandal would launch #DeflateGate, leading to countless Internet memes and some local businesses joining in the fun.

RELATED | The 6 best local things to come from DeflateGate | Colts nix Deflategate blimp planned for Patriots game on Oct. 18 | Sun King Brewery prints 'Tom Brady Sux' onto bottom of cans | IACC offers 'Deflate-Gate' dog adoption deal | The best social media reactions to the Tom Brady decision

Reggie Wayne's Departure (and Arrival to New England)

When the Colts announced that one of the most beloved players in recent memory, Reggie Wayne, wouldn’t be back with the team, fans had pretty much one reaction “We love you, Reggie.”

RELATED | Colts will not re-sign Reggie Wayne for upcoming season | Reggie Wayne: No ill will toward Colts | Source: Reggie Wayne will listen if contender calls | Reggie Wayne rumor mill: The latest on where the former Colts wide receiver could land

Then, immediately after, they had another: “Please -- not New England.” So many fans begged and pleaded for him not to sign with Indy’s bitter rival.

In the end, he did sign with New England, albeit for about two weeks before the team released him.

RELATED | ESPN: Reggie Wayne, New England Patriots, agree to 1-year deal | ESPN: Reggie Wayne parts ways with Patriots | Were Patriots 'too tough' for Reggie Wayne? | Reggie Wayne: Colts game 'felt like I never left'

James Hinchcliffe Crash

One of the most-watched videos from the IndyCar season was driver James Hinchcliffe’s crash into a wall while rounding Turn 3 during a practice in May.

RELATED | IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe recovering after crash at IMS | James Hinchcliffe's injuries were life-threatening | James Hinchcliffe out of the ICU, expected to make a full recovery | Holmatro Safety Team helped save Hinchcliffe's life

Hinchcliffe was taken to the hospital, where he made a recovery.

He was back in an IndyCar just four months after the crash.

RELATED | Hinchcliffe already back on his feet after crash | IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe opens up about life-threatening May crash | James Hinchcliffe returns to IndyCar 4 months after crash | VIDEO: Ride along with James Hinchcliffe as he drives on Road America after injury

Indy Eleven Stadium

The Indy Eleven soccer team is relatively new to Indianapolis, founded in 2013.

RELATED | Indiana Senate approves $20M stadium renovation for Indy Eleven | Indy Eleven supporters rally at Statehouse for $82M stadium | Gov. Pence says Indy Eleven stadium proposal 'has merit' | Plan advances for tax help on Indianapolis soccer stadium

So when attempts were made to build a new, $82 million stadium, some believed it was too much money to soon for a stadium.

Ultimately, the bill died before it could be put to a vote.

RELATED | Indy Eleven stadium bill dies before vote

Andrew Luck Injury

For many NFL pundits, the Colts were supposed to be one of the league’s top teams in 2015. Most of that belief was because of quarterback Andrew Luck.

Luck was a preseason NFL MVP candidate. But that belief faded quickly as the team struggled and Luck became injured on Nov. 8.

RELATED | Colts: Andrew Luck out, lacerated kidney in Broncos game | SEE THE HIT: This blow is what led to Andrew Luck's abdominal tear, lacerated kidney | Doctor: Andrew Luck's injury type that's 'often associated with motor vehicle crashes' | REACTION: Andrew Luck out for weeks with kidney laceration

His injury has become the story of the season for the 2015 Colts.

RELATED | Colts owner says he believes Andrew Luck will return in two weeks | Colts QB Andrew Luck returns to practice, won't play Sunday

Roy Hibbert Trade

For the Indiana Pacers, Roy Hibbert went from a face-of-the-franchise defensive staple, to somebody who would generate snickers when his name was brought up.

Many fans were counting down the days when the Pacers would move him off the team.

They got their wish when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on July 9.

RELATED | It's official: Roy Hibbert headed to Lakers | Roy Hibbert puts $2.65M Carmel mansion on market | GALLERY: Inside Roy Hibbert's $2.65M mansion | Former Pacer Roy Hibbert gets punched in Lakers preseason game

Indianapolis Indians Almost Winning a Cup

The Indianapolis Indians were one of the most successful Indiana teams in 2015, finishing just one game short of winning the Governor’s Cup.

RELATED | Indianapolis Indians to host Superhero Night | 6 things to know about the Indianapolis Indians | VIDEO: Indians outfielder Keon Broxton discusses his friendship with high school teammate | Indianapolis Indians lose championship game

Despite all the record rain Indianapolis received this past summer, the team set a new high in attendance, and will continue to be in the city for years to come.

RELATED | Indianapolis Indians set attendance record despite rainy summer | Indians make deal to stay in Indy for next 20 years

Indiana Fever Success

Similarly to the Indians, the Indiana Fever pushed its opponents to a Game 5, and eventually went home without a title.

RELATED | Catchings leads Indiana back to WNBA Finals with 66-51 win | Pacers coach, players team up with Fever to give out tickets | Catchings helps Fever force Game 5, beating Lynx 75-69 | Lynx capture 3rd title in 5 years with 69-52 win over Indiana Fever in Game 5

But the Fever gave Indiana something to be proud of with its deep playoff run.

Paul George is Back

One of the most devastating recent NBA injuries didn’t happen on an NBA court.

Pacers star forward Paul George was hurt in a game with the U.S. National Team.

PG made his long-awaited return in April against the Miami Heat.

RELATED | RAW VIDEO: Paul George talks about return Sunday against Miami | Indiana Pacers hoping new style will produce another playoff run

The 99th INDY 500

2015’s Indy 500 was, as it usually is, one of the best sports tickets of the year.

Juan Pablo Montoya ended the day a winner, but that’s not all that happened that day.

RELATED | PHOTOS | 99th running of the Indy 500 | VIDEOS: The Indy 500 in review | VIDEOS: The Indy 500 in review | Juan Pablo Montoya wins the Indianapolis 500

RTV6 also covered some of the greatest people-watching you’ll ever find.

RELATED | INDY 500: Greatest Spectacle in People Watching | SHIRTLESS AT THE 500: Were you spotted? | PICS: Um...what? Strange sights at the Speedway | PICS: Scenes from the Indy 500 Snake Pit | PICS: Stars and Stripes galore at the IMS

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