Former Indianapolis Colts and Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian wasn’t offended by his old owner Jim Irsay‘s candid comments Monday that current Colts general manager Ryan Grigson ‘has outdone’ him in their first four seasons with the franchise respectively:
In fact, despite the comments being highly debatable, Polian only had high praise for Irsay by calling him a “phenomenal owner” via his SiriusXM NFL Radio Show with Alex Marvez on Tuesday:
"“Number 1, he’s a really a kind and kind-hearted person,” said Polian. “He is a good, good person. He’s a people person. He’s a top-flight businessman and financially, he’s as good as any owner in the National Football League, but he’s really, really a good person.”Dec 6, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Indianapolis Colts fans greet Colts owner Jim Irsay (bottom) as he makes his way to the field to watch the Colts play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports“Secondly, he, probably John Mara, the Rooney’s, it probably ends there, and they are the owners who most understand the game on the field,” added Polian. “So when you sit down and have a conversation with Jim Irsay, it would take you 2 hours–maybe a little less time with an owner who had been around a while, but with Jim Irsay: 15 minutes.”“He gives you every opportunity to succeed,” noted Polian. “Rarely, rarely, will he ever turn down a request. He has strong feelings about certain things, about how the franchise should be run and he’s right–it’s his franchise and he really cares about the Horseshoe. But he’s a knowledgeable football person. Very few people know that.”“He’s exceedingly knowledgeable,” said Polian. “He’s been a general manager. He’s been a ball boy at 15 years of age and literally worked his way up to the presidency and the ownership of the team.”“So he’s a knowledgeable, knowledgeable football guy, and if you’re a football person, you can’t help but want to work for him,” concluded Polian. ."
While Irsay is an eccentric and social media savvy owner, who also has an acquired taste for rock ‘n roll, fans often forget both his football background and acumen.
Time will ultimately tell whether giving both Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano multi-year extensions was the right decision, but Irsay still has a great deal of football knowledge to draw from and used his judgment in what he thought was best for the Horseshoe.
It’s a big compliment coming from Polian too, who’s one of the best general managers in NFL History, that Irsay is indeed a “phenomenal owner” to work for.
During his tenure as Colts general manager, Polian went 134-74 (.644), making the playoffs 10 of his 13 seasons–most notably winning a Super Bowl XLI Championship. As architect, he also drafted the likes of all-time Colts greats such as Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, Dallas Clark, and Robert Mathis, while building the team into a perennial NFL juggernaut.