Awaiting Enshrinement, Bill Polian Discusses Highs & Lows of Colts Career


Awaiting Hall of Fame enshrinement this Saturday, renowned former Indianapolis Colts General Manager Bill Polian discussed with Indy Sport Central’s Mike Chappell what it personally meant for him to achieve football immortality in Canton, Ohio.

More than anything, Polian expressed his desire to show gratitude to those who helped him along the way:

"“‘Thank you,”’ Polian told Chappell regarding the upcoming theme of his enshrinement speech. “I owe so much to so many people.”"

However, among his other notable revelations, Polian discussed the highs of his Colts career as the head of the team’s football operations coming to a forefront, when the team defeated the New England Patriots during the 2006 AFC Championship game en route to becoming Super Bowl champions:

"“We had climbed the mountain and we slew the dragon,” Polian said. “And we did it in front of our fans, in our building, in our city with just our football family there.”“I don’t think I’ve ever had a feeling quite like that in my career,” added Polian."

But also, conversely the lows. Namely, when the Colts fell to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV and later, when they endured one of their worst seasons in 2011, falling to 2-14 after losing Peyton Manning to a career-threatening injury:

"“First, Polian wishes he had better structured the 2009 roster,” writes Chappell. “The Colts reached Super Bowl XLIV where they fell 31-17 to New Orleans. An ankle injury greatly limited Freeney’s effectiveness.”“It would have been incredible to win two,” Polian said.“Second, Polian would like a do-over heading into 2011,” notes Chappell. “That’s when Manning would miss the entire season with his neck issues. The lack of a proven backup that season led to the 2-14 finish. In hindsight, Polian would have drafted a quarterback – probably Andy Dalton – rather than put the team in the hands of Curtis Painter.”“If we knew Peyton was going to miss the whole season,” Polian said, “we would have gone a different route in terms of drafting a quarterback and those kinds of things.”"

His former boss Jim Irsay commented on Polian’s upcoming enshrinement into the Hall of Fame Wednesday evening at Colts training camp, where he’ll be in attendance:

"“Yeah, that’s something I’m really excited about,” said Irsay regarding Polian’s enshrinement. “I’m going to head up there on Saturday. It’s great for him and the Colts. It’s great to have a Hall of Famer step on that podium and know that that way-back-when, when I hired him in ’98…he did so many great things for this franchise and that era was such a special era and to see him go in the Hall of Fame is really, really exciting.”“I know how much it means to him and his family, and Colts fans can feel the excitement…I’m excited about Bill, and I’m going to be there,” added Irsay."

Overall, during his tenure as Colts GM from 1997-2009, Polian’s teams went 134-74 (.644), failing to make the playoffs just 3 times in 13 seasons as the head of football operations. His greatest accomplishment came in 2006, when his Colts team won an elusive Super Bowl Championship.

Simply put, it should be a special day for Polian, the Colts, and all of the franchise’s fans come Saturday.

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