We have our first stunner of Black Monday.
Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian and his son G.M. Chris Polian are out in Indianapolis, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
There’s no official word yet on coach Jim Caldwell. (UPDATE 2:59 p.m. ET: No decision has been made yet on Caldwell, according to Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star.)
The departure of the Polian clan is a seismic decision by owner Jim Irsay after Polian served the team successfully for 14 years. Bill Polian took over as G.M. in early 1998 and made Peyton Manning his first draft pick with the team.
Polian dumped quarterback Jim Harbaugh back then and it’s at least possible that Polian’s plans regarding Manning led to this move by Irsay.
Irsay is very close to Manning and there was apparent friction between the quarterback and general manager in recent weeks. Polian seemed almost certain to draft a quarterback No. 1 and had been closely tied to Andrew Luck, who yet another Polian worked with at Stanford.
It’s possible the next Colts decision maker could still let go of Manning or draft Luck, of course. But the departure of the Polians appears to make it more likely for Manning to have a future in Indianapolis.
If Irsay was thinking about starting fresh, now is certainly the time. Let the new decision makers chart the course of the franchise for the next decade.
Until this disastrous year, the Colts had won at least ten games for nine straight seasons. The team had eleven double digit win seasons in Polian’s tenure.
Of course, Polian’s tenure coincides exactly with Peyton Manning. There are fair arguments to be made over how much credit Manning should get and how much the front office should get.
We think there is enough credit to go around, even if Manning makes it all go. The Polians and Manning accomplished an incredible amount together.
Irsay sure appears to see Manning as the more integral part of the Colts’ future.