The Colts will be inducting Bill Polian into the Ring of Honor this season, but who else is on the list for this distinction?
Former Colts GM Bill Polian will be honored twice this year, once by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and then by the Colts. Polian was the architect of an unbelievable run of success in Indianapolis. Under his leadership, the Colts won 146 games, made the playoffs in 11 of 14 seasons, won eight division titles, won 12 or more games in seven straight seasons, as well as the Colts only Super Bowl win in Indianapolis.
Clearly he belongs in the Ring of Honor, if only for his decision to draft Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf in 1998 alone. The Colts generally elect just one member to the Ring every year. Here’s who has already made it in:
- Robert Irsay (1996)
- Bill Brooks (1998)
- Ted Marchibroda (2000)
- Chris Hinton (2001)
- Jim Harbaugh (2005)
- Fans (2007)
- Tony Dungy (2010)
- Marvin Harrison (2011)
- Edgerrin James (2012)
- Eric Dickerson (2013)
- Marshall Faulk (2013)
- Jeff Saturday (2015)
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Four of those members (Dungy, Harrison, Dickerson, Faulk) are also in the Hall of Fame. And two more have a good chance of earning that distinction (James and possibly Saturday).
But who else will be joining Polian and the others up in the Ring in following seasons?
We know that some of the recently retired players will be mortal locks for the Ring of Honor. Manning and Reggie Wayne will be immortalized at Lucas Oil in due time (hell, Peyton is getting a statue).
Here are a few players that have been suggested to make the Ring in the coming years.
Tarik Glenn, tackle
For much of the 2000s dominance, Glenn was an anchor on the offensive line and one that was hard to replace too. He was a stalworth defender of Manning’s blindside and a large enough man to blot out the sun (seriously, he takes up most of the stairwells in Lucas Oil). Glenn won’t make the Hall of Fame and only went to the Pro Bowl three times, but keeping Manning upright for so long is certainly worth consideration.
Gary Brackett, middle linebacker
Brackett was an important piece of Dungy’s Tampa-two defensive scheme, and one of the few linebackers to actually be re-signed during the Polian years. This is another player who didn’t receive national attention (no Pro Bowls) but was a defensive captain for the Colts. His abscense in the 2008 playoffs hampered the defense and was the likely the reason for the team’s early exit from the playoffs.
Dallas Clark, tight end
Clark doesn’t get the same attention that Wayne or Harrison do, but he probably should. He was one of the most underrated pieces of the Colts offense and a favorite, reliable target for Manning. He made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro in 2009 and was a fan favorite for much of his tenure in Indianapolis.
Bob Sanders, safety
Can a player who only really played one full season make the Ring? And even that year Sanders played in just 15 games. However, without Sanders the Colts don’t have a Super Bowl ring. He came back in time for the 2006 playoffs and dominated, so much so that he was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. He also made the All-Pro rosters in 2005 and 2007. This is probably a stretch, but it would be fun to honor this brief flame of glory (who may or may not hurt himself as he steps onto the field to receive the honor).
Another name that has been thrown around is kicker Mike Vanderjagt, but I highly doubt they’d ever bring him back to Indy. He’d be boo’d out of the stadium for missing that chip shot in the 2005 playoffs and being an “idiot kicker who got liquored up” and started bad mouthing the team. The Colts are far more likely to enshrine Adam Vinatieri, if he ever decides to retire.