Polian thinks he was fired for not having a better backup plan at quarterback

AP

Plenty of reasons have been circulating for the Polianoscopy in Indianapolis.  Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star agreed Tuesday with the notion that Bill Polian’s use of the Colts’ football operations as the basis for boosting his son’s career, coupled with periodic fits of public rage, ultimately undid the father-son duo.

Not surprisingly, Polian has a different view.  He tells the Associated Press that he was fired for not having a better backup plan behind Peyton Manning.

From a linear perspective, Polian probably is right.  If he had a better Plan B for Peyton’s season-long absence, the Colts may have been more competitive in a wide-open AFC South.  Based on reports that the Colts considered signing Matt Hasselbeck, and in light of what Hasselbeck accomplished in Tennessee, perhaps a decision to acquire Hasselbeck would have allowed the Colts to win a few more than two games.  If the Colts had won nine (like the Titans did), maybe the Polians would have stayed put.

The real reasons likely extend far deeper than the superficial line between wins and losses and pink slips.  But for the blatant nepotism and persistent belligerence, owner Jim Irsay may have decided that one very bad season could be tolerated, especially since Manning’s new contract and the past contracts given to the other star players on the team left precious little cap space to lure someone like Hasselbeck to town.  Polian’s style and his interpersonal flaws operated over time like a bear trap lurking on the wrong side of a 7-9 record.  The fact that the season ended poorly enough to give the Colts the first pick in the draft likely contributed to Irsay’s intuitive sense that the time was right to make a significant change.

Bill Polian also said the timing of the move was surprising, and that he was more upset about his son, Chris, losing his job.  That’s understandable, but it’s one of the perils of nepotism.  When a father gives his son a ride on his coattails, a failure by the father will claim the careers of both men.

The question now becomes whether anyone will give Chris Polian an opportunity on his own, or whether the Polians will remain a package deal.  Despite Bill Polian’s Hall of Fame track record, it would be wise for any owner interested in Bill to take the position that the time has come for Chris to make his own way.

86 responses to “Polian thinks he was fired for not having a better backup plan at quarterback

  1. “Polian thinks he was fired for not having any backup plan at quarterback”

    ——————–

    There, fixed the title for you.

  2. “Polian thinks he was fired for not having a better backup plan at quarterback”

    – Is this a surprise to Polian? We all said the same thing when it was eerily apparent there was NO backup plan for Manning. No offense to the “backups”.

  3. You can copy and paste the thread title and substitute ‘Angelo’ for ‘Polian’. FWIW, I thought Hanie was serviceable but Painter never showed anything. Scary to think that Kellen Clemens could have saved both mens’ jobs.

  4. I’m glad he’s gone because he’s been drafting horribly. We need to invest in our defense, and he always drafted offensive players with our first pick. But obviously I hope it’s Andrew Luck this time.

  5. Its more likely he was fired for bringing in Collins and not trusting the backups he already had in place.

    That and he disagreed with whatever plan the owner had in place for Manning.

  6. ya think? build your entire tem aaround one guy…the trainwreck is bound to happen. The Polians should have been getting a good second QB years ago…aka brett favre to aaron rodgers to maybe flynn in GB.

  7. i think it was because he did not have a better supporting cast around there QB..the team crumbled w/out Peyton and the team should have had better players so they didnt entirely rely on peyton to bring them to the playoffs

  8. If he would have built a supporting cast for that team, they wouldn’t have to lean on Manning so much. Look at teams without a good QB, IE Broncos, Ravens, Jets of previous 2 years, Texans, ect.

  9. Well, Polian did a great job by fielding a team that sucked just enough to get another QB to run your franchise for another 15 years……….that to me is worthy of a raise.

  10. I personally think he was fired for three reasons.

    1. He signed Manning to a very stupid contract while his injury and future was in doubt that has backed the Colts into a corner for next year.

    2. He and Irsay disagree with the direction of the #1 pick. (one of them undoubtedly wants Luck, the other wants to stick with Manning).

    3. His drafting has been terrible in recent years. Donald Brown, Jerry Hughes, Anthony Gonzalez, and Anthony Costanza, Joseph Addai, and Marlin Jackson have been his last six 1st round picks, all very over-drafted. He hasn’t hit on a 1st round pick since Dallas Clark in 2003, and even then I’m not sure a TE is the biggest reason to jump up and down. They also traded away the 2008 first-round pick and a mid-round 2007 pick to draft Tony Ugoh. Absolute Garbage.

  11. He was fired for using his position to elevate his son’s career and for his “fits of public rage”.

    Not having a better backup plan at QB simply allowed Irsay to do it.

    Long story short, when they were winning, nothing else mattered. When they lost, it did, and enough was enough.

  12. “Hey Bill, this is Stan Kroenke.” I have a three year rebuilding project for you. Name your price. I’ll even get your kid a job. Can he say ‘welcome to Wal-Mart’?”
    “While I have you on the phone, do you have Tony Dungy’s phone number?”

  13. That’s partly true. From all accounts, Peyton took every single 1st team snaps in practice and rarely came out of games, even in blowouts. This was Peyton’s demands and the coaches were powerless to say otherwise. It was a failure from the top down and Peyton’s ego.

  14. He was fired for coasting on Manning’s talent and not building a solid team around him, first stopping him from winning multiple SBs and then having them tank without Manning. Manning was able to hide a lot of faults on the team (such as the defense) and once he was gone, it was apparent that Polian didn’t do a good enough job developing the rest of the team.

  15. So in KC it’s the HC’s fault for no backup QB, in Indy it’s the GM’s. Clark Hunt, are you taking notes?

    It was Pioli’s sorry azz backup QB, not Haley’s. Then when Haley sticks with the guy Pioli gave him, he gets canned???

    I’m not a huge Haley fan but I think Haley still gets the Chiefs to 7-9, surely he beats the Raiders, and it’s clear now the Packers were just having a down week. And all of a sudden they’re playoff bound???

    Without your Pro-Bowl QB (although Cassel is no real pro-bolwer), Pro Bowl RB, Pro-Bowl S, and a legit TE threat, 7-9 ain’t bad.

  16. Just a few words to say on this topic. Texans have a third string Q/B and in the playoffs, Colts no backup plan and watching T.V………. Polian screwed da pooch and deserves his reward, as in a kick out out the door……………………………..

  17. The article and comments are a very thoughtful look at the Colts over the Manning era. Remember, it didn’t always used to be the way it became. There was Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne, etc etc. The O-line was actually great for a while too pre Ugoh. Shortly after winning the superbowl it seemed Polian turned the team into an experiment in hypothetical salary cap concepts, bywhich a team attempts to win with a HOF quarterback and literally nothing else. Well, he can publish his findings on that experiment now.

  18. Well, as the saying goes, “Karma is a *****.” I mean, the guy was an excellent executive, and is headed to the Hall of Fame. No doubt. However, his being such a jerk, and had rules altered so his QB and his receivers could get the advantages. He also intimidates referees so the Colts get all the calls.

    His arrogance finally caught up with him. I mean, while Peyton was there for the 13 years, why WASN’T a competent backup for Peyton there? Did he think Peyton would NEVER get hurt? I mean, really. To construct a team and a system that only ONE PERSON can run, is just so short sighted.

  19. That should actually merit a raise in this once in a blue moon case. With a viable backup qb there would be no opportunity to draft the (arguably) best qb draft prospect since, ironically enough, Peyton Manning.
    I’m sure Polian knows exactly why he was fired. Personally, I think it was a difference of opinion with the owner concerning Manning/Luck. For Polian to come out and say that would warrant follow up question about specifics which would prematurely notify the rest of the league what Irsay wants to do.

  20. granadafan says:Jan 4, 2012 5:56 PM

    …. This was Peyton’s demands and the coaches were powerless to say otherwise. It was a failure from the top down and Peyton’s ego.

    ~~~~~~~
    Whenever the QB dictates the situation, you’re in BIG trouble, as both Polian and Irsay have learned. They deserve what they got. Unfortunately, part of that might be Luck. All these years of Manning as the ultimate team player….what a crock….

  21. It’s easy to see why he was fired. He had one good draft pick in all his years in indy. Not even one good draft class just one good pick. Jeez if that one pick hadn’t of been one of the best QB’s ever he would have been gone along time ago.
    Throw in trying to make his son an heir apparent and as an owner I would not trust hime.

  22. I just want to see the Colts and Texans build a rivalry like the Steelers and Oiler had in the 70’s. Maybe even a threeway with the Titans, as long as Bud is done with that team. The Jag’s are a good team, but very unstable at the present once they get a solid foundation the AFC South will be a force to be respected…………….

  23. Lack of a quality backup that was groomed in your system (Painter) is one strike.

    Your option B QB, Kerry Collins, who had one successful season as a game manager in 2008, and best season was in 2002, with a QB rating of 85.4, was strike two.

    Your sketchy at best draft history, particularly in the top 3 rounds, the last 5-6 years, would be strike 3.

    Your most successful coach, Tony Dungy, was hand picked by Isray. His replacement, and related assistants are awful. Strike 4.

    Do I need to go on?

  24. Belichick is laughing so hard that snot is blowing out his nose. You got the NFL Competition Committe to change the rules to stop the Patriots, and all you got out of Peyton Manning was one Super Bowl and a kick in the a$$. How’s them apples?

  25. Thanks to Polian, we will look back on Manning’s career and say what if? Manning won a lot of regular season games putting up incredible numbers, but so what?

    1 piece of hardware against a Bears team quarterbacked by Rex Grossman. He was owned by the Patriots, and his overall playoff record is average. There’s no question that Peyton made the people around him better, but it was Polian’s job to keep the cupboard stocked.

  26. Other people have brought up the backup QB situation, but I think this was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen in pro sports. With Sorgi and then Painter, it seems they were attempting to go as low at this position as they possibly could. If you don’t want to spring for the king’s ransom it takes to sign a veteran career backup fine, drop a 6th rounder on a project QB. It’s not like you’d do something better with them.

  27. Lets be for real here. There are not 32 good STARTING QBs in the league, let alone the luxury of having a qualitu backup. His mistakes were more likely having a poor eye for Defensive talent. yes Freeney and that other OLB are great, but who else?

  28. texans fan up there, the texans had their qb for better part of the season. without schaub you lost to carolina, tennessee and indy(and the refs). without schaub the texans dont make the playoffs but are 500 or 7-9. in reality though the two are not comparable because indy lost more than a qb, it lost its offensive coordinator too

  29. his irascibility was the real reason. maybe the poor drafting and tying to peyton (only good pick… no… but close…) hurt.

    the poor record was a cover story. now, collins was a ok-to-good qb for a long time. but he had retired and it was pretty obvious he just came back for the money this season.

    inference from article is that polian knowingly tanked the season. have always thought caldwell was just a sock puppet.

    when did the colts know manning wouldnt be back for the season… before the season they obviously passed on vince young (agreed, good move), mcnabb (another good move), kolb (maybe a good move), bulger (perhaps a good move).

    after the season started they passed on delhomme and garcia (poor move), mccown (yes, another poor move), clemens (yes, poor move), palmer (yes, a poor move), garrard (good move), orton (poor move).

    failing additional move, even good ones… they should have started orlovsky sooner.

  30. Pats’ Fan here:

    There were 53 players on the Pats’ roster for Super Bowl 42.

    47 of the players on that roster 4 seasons ago have been replaced – 88.6 %. The team has won 50 of the 66 games it has played since then – 75.6%.

    When Brady went down in the 1st game of the 2008 season his replacement stepped right in and the Pats went 11-5. Yes Cassell was a system quarterback – what is the problem? (none)

    Brady’s primary backup is Hoyer – 3 years on the sidelines watching #12 and now he’s ready. After him is that dude they got in the 3rd round from Arkansas whose name I forget and who previously played at Michigan.

    8 players invited to the Pro Bowl. 2nd year TE had the greatest season for a TE in league history.

    Last season they lost 2 games in a row for the 1st time in about 6 seasons.

    Yeah I know the D sucks but 13 wins is 13 wins. Buffalo ran up 21 points on them and then – NADA. 49-21.

    I know you haters out there are having fits but even YOU must admit that Belichik is

    Their latest win streak started the week after they released Haynesworth.

  31. Pats’ Fan here:

    There were 53 players on the Pats’ roster for Super Bowl 42.

    47 of the players on that roster 4 seasons ago have been replaced – 88.6 %. The team has won 50 of the 66 games it has played since then – 75.6%.

    When Brady went down in the 1st game of the 2008 season his replacement stepped right in and the Pats went 11-5. Yes Cassell was a system quarterback – what is the problem? (none)

    Brady’s primary backup is Hoyer – 3 years on the sidelines watching #12 and now he’s ready. After him is that dude they got in the 3rd round from Arkansas whose name I forget and who previously played at Michigan.

    8 players invited to the Pro Bowl. 2nd year TE had the greatest season for a TE in league history.

    Last season they lost 2 games in a row for the 1st time in about 6 seasons.

    Yeah I know the D sucks but 13 wins is 13 wins. Buffalo ran up 21 points on them and then – NADA. 49-21.

    I know you haters out there are having fits but even YOU must admit that Belichik is at his most dangerous when he is forced to improvise.

    SB XLVI: (NE)P – (GB)P

    NE – XXXV GB XXXI

    Their latest win streak started the week after they released Haynesworth.

  32. Polian was fired in Buffalo for feuding with treasurer Jeff Lippmann….he knew at the start of the season he was leaving… the deal with Ralph was if they won the Super Bowl it would be a resignation – anything else would be a firing….having said that Ralph should call him….ya his recent drafts in Indy sucked (think he was not totally in charge of that) but no team ever again will appear in 4 consecutive Super Bowls…..that should be his legacy but due to his own ego it won’t be…..

  33. No only winning one Super Bowl with one of the greatests QB’s to ever step on the field due to your inability to draft a defense, a running back, and a offensive line is why you got fired. Oh and because you’re an idiot and don’t know what you’re doing.

  34. I wonder if maybe he got fired for complacency. The Colts have been on cruise control ever since they got Peyton. Peyton has been the key to all the success. All the other players are basically interchangable parts and even when they had horrible defenses or bad special teams it didn’t really matter so much….13 wins every year. Maybe Bill got a bit “Fat & Happy”. I was going to say “Fat & Happy & Arrogant”…. but the arrogance has always been there. Maybe Napolian figured he could kick back a bit, let Peyton Manning continue winning regardless of the other pieces, let his kid take more control, not really put the effort in anymore and ended up doing things like having that joke Caldwell as your HC and failing to get a decent backup for Manning. Maybe Irsay saw this, maybe Irsay also saw that others in the organization weren’t all that pleased with concept of nepotism. Maybe Irsay was tired of his controlling, manipulative and arrogant ways. Maybe he said to himself….’I’m not gonna put up with that if Bill’s not even gonna put forth the sort of effort he used to before.’ I think it was time for a change. Too much success breeds complacency. Irsay made the right decision at the right time. The franchise is at a huge crossroads and the right choices need to be made now for the right reasons.

    I say: Congratulations Mr. Irsay! We’re all very proud of you. You had the stones to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons, and not allow that domineering, dictatorial little general lead you around by the nose now that it’s time for these important decisions to be made.

  35. 1historian……..please remind me again the last time the Patriots have won a playoff game???? Ya

    Funny thing is, the Patriots have turned into the Colts of the early to mid 2000’s. All offense and no defense…..Soft…….the same things Pats fans used to rub in the faces of Colts fans. LOL

  36. Ha ha – he first got the NaPolian tag on Buffalo……I remember hearing a couple of radio guys talking about it at the time and about what a general douchenozzle he was….I still think Ralph, Buddy, or Russ should call him… maybe come back as a personnel consultant or something…

  37. He had a backup plan – it was to have the team tank games to draft Peyton’s backup once Manning suffered a career threatening injury.

    Mission accomplished with Luck and a likely Franchise QB for the next 15 years instead of possibly none from Peyton.

    It’s a wise move for the Colts long term – but a PR nightmare for the entire league – thus, fire Polian and make the team appear upset to have the rights to draft Luck.

  38. edukator4 says:
    Jan 4, 2012 7:19 PM
    texans fan up there, the texans had their qb for better part of the season. without schaub you lost to carolina, tennessee and indy(and the refs). without schaub the texans dont make the playoffs but are 500 or 7-9. in reality though the two are not comparable because indy lost more than a qb, it lost its offensive coordinator too

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////

    Point proven by you alone, one person down and out you take away two people. The last time I checked football was a team sport, not a one man show. So the Colts are just a one man team by your accords, we lose our Super Star, let’s just pack it in and QUIT………….

  39. Polian let a few players take up most of the team’s cap room. If they had a more balanced roster, instead of having so many millions tied up in Manning, Freeney, and Wayne, they would ahve been more competitive this year.

    What team doesn’t invest some effort into having a backup QB ready to start and win some games? Admitting that you didn’t have a plan for the backup at your most important position is idiotic.

  40. “I’ve always told the staff that our approach should be to hope for the best but plan for the worst, and I didn’t do an adequate enough job of planning for the circumstances we were in”

    Ya think?

    Don’t you think you might want to plan on filling the most important position on your football team, when your starter can’t throw a football?

  41. It seems to me that there were a number of reasons he was fired, and one being at the top of the list was him making his kid an NFL GM.

    Was Robert Irsey going to put a billion dollar operation in the hands of a kid that was even more immature and inept then Phil Savage?

  42. If Bill Polian kept on working as he did earlier he might still have a job. Handing over his work to his son and not making sure his son delivered = good cause for firing. The lack of backup QB just exposed that for all to see.

    Kudos to Irsay for pulling the trigger.

  43. most overrated position in football: backup QB. nobody is winning with their backup, unless you get extremely lucky like the packers with Flynn or The Pats did with Cassell.
    Does anyone think that Houston will win w/o Shaub, or Saints could win w/o Brees?

    There’s a new NFL motto, learn it well:
    QB’s win championships

  44. No one is stating the obvious: the organization was so far up its own 4ss that it allowed Tony Dungy to hand-pick a successor who has NOOOOOOO business being an NFL head coach.

  45. napgamer says:
    Jan 4, 2012 6:27 PM
    It’s easy to see why he was fired. He had one good draft pick in all his years in indy. Not even one good draft class just one good pick. Jeez if that one pick hadn’t of been one of the best QB’s ever he would have been gone along time ago.
    Throw in trying to make his son an heir apparent and as an owner I would not trust hime.

    ===================================
    Goobs,

    What do you call Edgarin James, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark who were 1st round draft picks by Polian? Busts?

  46. He was fired because he didn’t have a good plan for the entire balance of the team. Injuries happen, but when someone (Payton) is so superior at his position than all other players, if he goes down so goes the team. If, the team had more balance, and had better players, and lost a qb they could bring in another qb and win. The other players were not good enough to step up and win.

    So the reason wasn’t that he lost his job because he didn’t have a good qb back up plan, it was because he never upgraded the rest of the team, and relied soley on one guy for the success of the entire team. And, once Payton went down – it showed.

  47. Maybe senility has hit you Bill. Have you not read ANYTHING about yourself in the last 3 weeks????
    Why don’t you call up ALL the X Colts employees that were downsized, laidoff, retired, moved on, ect because of your reign of terror? Start with Zunk and go down the list.
    Your short temper, thinking rules don’t apply to you such as: pumping in noise, hitting other teams employees, verbally abusing colts employees, yelling at the hot dog person at the gas station down the road, yelling break his leg about the opoposing team…… that is jsut what the public knows or should I continue. To me you ruined you HOF career these past years, in BEHAVIOR alone. That is not the conduct of any HOFer. People all over Indy want to tell their run ins with you since you are gone, and it is only day 3!!!!!
    Your family deserves nothing more….. I don’t care where you go, as long as you are out of Indy, But I promise I will be haunting you wherever you go.

  48. 1historian :

    irsay accuses polian of nepotism?

    that is RICH. irsay got HIS gig purely out of competence I suppose.
    _________________________

    There is a huge difference between inheritance and nepotism.

  49. philyeagles5 says:
    Jan 4, 2012 5:31 PM
    you were fired because the Colts were exposed for who they really are.

    Really??? This coming from an eagles fan. Lets try to buy a championship. How did that work out philyeagles5.
    Now you are stuck with con-Vick, just good enough to get his money, not good enough to win anything.

    Good luck. Colts will be back as superbowl contenders before the eagles.

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