Bill Polian claims Colts had a first-round grade on Tom Brady

AP

Bill Polian already has made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But maybe there’s an unknown higher level of the Hall into which he’s trying to nudge his bust.

Regardless, B.P. has instantly qualified for a spot in the B.S. Hall of Fame by suggesting that, 17 years ago, the Colts had a first-round grade on quarterback Tom Brady.

Asked by Sports Illustrated to name the quarterbacks he would have drafted if Peyton Manning weren’t on the roster, Polian had this to say after mentioning Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, via USA Today: “Tom Brady would have been a guy, and we were very high on him. Our guys really loved him, but we weren’t in the quarterback market, obviously. Those would be the guys I remember us giving solid, first-round, can-lead-you-to-a-championship grades.”

And so a guy who belongs to a very exclusive club of football achievement has instantly become a member of a far bigger group: Those who claim they knew Tom Brady was going to become Tom Brady.

Frankly, Polian is either lying or admitting to a moment of gross incompetence. The fact that the Colts had Manning, the first pick in 1998, didn’t preclude them from drafting a quarterback in 2000 at or before the Patriots got Brady at pick No. 199. In 2004, for example, Polian drafted quarterback Jim Sorgi with selection No. 193.

If Polian truly had a first-round grade on Brady, Polian should have drafted Brady. Not in the early rounds, obviously. By the time round four rolls around, however, who in their right mind would pass on a player with a first-round grade — unless the player picked instead also had a first-round grade?

For the Colts, it’s possibly that defensive tackle Josh Williams (No. 122 in round four) had a first-round grade, but he sure didn’t play like it. Ditto for guard Matt Johnson (No. 138 in round five), who never even appeared in a regular-season game.

Any time a player with a first-round grade slides, you take him. And if he ends up being better than the guy you currently have at the position, you play him or you trade him for more than you got him for.

Indeed, look at what the Patriots have done at the quarterback position during Brady’s career. They took Rohan Davey in round four of the 2002 draft, Kliff Kingsbury in round six a year later, Matt Cassel in round seven in 2005, Kevin O’Connell in round three three years later, Zac Robinson in round seven in 2010, Ryan Mallett in round three the following year, Jimmy Garoppolo in round two in 2014, and Jacoby Brissett in round three a year ago.

That’s eight quarterbacks drafted since 2002, despite the presence of Brady. And when Brady was drafted, the Patriots supposedly had a franchise quarterback in Drew Bledsoe.

Bottom line? If Polian truly believed that Brady was going to be a great player, Polian should have taken him at some point before the Patriots (a division rival at the time) got him with pick No. 199.

104 responses to “Bill Polian claims Colts had a first-round grade on Tom Brady

  1. The patriots have said they had a higher grade on Brady than 6th round, but they were in salary cap jail and just signed Bledsoe to a huge deal. So an was the last position they needed. But when he was still available they couldn’t pass on him again. And the rest is history.

    The truth is that every other team in football had Brady as an unstaffed free agent type player. If Polian knew then what he now claims he knew then, he would have drafted Brady in the 3rd round. He’s lying through his teeth. But I’d expect nothing less. He also acts like Manning was his unquestioned number 1 choice. Which is also bull. They went back and forth on Manning or Leaf for months before making what was ultimately the right choice. He deserves credit for choosing right, but there are very few people that exceed Polian when it comes to being disengenuous.

  2. Yeah- okay… couldn’t do anything with the Buffalo Bills, and Peyton Manning just happens to fall in your lap… Peyton Manning even had to tell you “draft me or I will kick your @$$ for the next decade”

  3. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    Ok I’m do.. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Alright, glad that’s over.

  4. A serial liar just like his good friend and partner Roger Goodell. These two perennially conspired to change league rules to favor his team and hurt New England.

  5. Now I’m starting to worry about getting older. Are these kinds of delusional statements what I have to look forward to as I age?

    Pollian’s struggles against the Pats are legendary, and for the most part failures. What he needs to do is either shut up or adjust his medication.

    He has some major accomplishments during his career in the NFL. It’s a shame to see him lose that credibility over comments like the one’s he’s recently made about Brady.

  6. Polian is the worst person on ESPN by far. Yesterday during the scouting combine while discussing mike Williams from Clemson he said he is no Marvin Harrison just to show off the fact that he was able to draft a HOF WR. Polian didn’t have a first round grade on Brady, no one did otherwise polian or 31 other GMS would have drafted him in the first 5 rounds. You got your gold jacket already you don’t have to lie about who you wanted to draft.

  7. What a windbag. He makes this claim, but couldn’t get a legit back up behind Manning all those years. If you think a guy is first round talent floating around in the 4, 5, and sixth rounds, you take him! No question. No matter what position, it’s called taking the best player on the board.

  8. Bill Polian is unbelievable, for many reasons. Can’t stand the guy, and he needs to go away.

  9. BAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!! He has said this on multiple occasions. Dude won one championship with how many hall of famers over x number of years? I mean the list is incredible. He drafted good talent but had no eye for WINNERS. You are in the HOF Bill just relax you got lucky enough to be there. I find it pretty incredible he was inducted after 1 championship.

    I get the argument for what he did with the Jags/Bills. But Peyton fell into your lap! He also over exaggerates that as well saying Leaf was a VERY close second. Gimme a break! 1 FREAKING championship!!!! LOL SMH. Shut up and go back to the world wide leader. Oh, I hope you aren’t going to be part of their purge of on air talent!!

  10. The lies the Colts tell. Also, they didn’t Suck for Luck, and appropriately had him as a fifth round grade.

  11. Yeah and i predicted nc state would win the national championship in 1983 before thst season started. Lol.

  12. “Yeah- okay… couldn’t do anything with the Buffalo Bills”

    Don’t be stupid. The Bills went to four consecutive Super Bowls with him as GM. That is a good accomplishment even if they didn’t win one. Buffalo hadn’t won anything since the ’60s before Polian got there and hasn’t won anything since 1999.

    Back on topic, if Polian was telling the truth about Brady, he would have drafted him in the later rounds just to make sure no one else got him or at least to have an asset for a future trade. That’s why you draft the best available player if all else is equal.

  13. “Buffalo hadn’t won anything since the ’60s before Polian got there and hasn’t won anything since 1999”

    Correction: Bills had playoff berths in ’74 and ’80/81 but didn’t get past divisional round. Point stands.

  14. Liar liar pants on fire. Brady was an average backup QB on a championship roster at Michigan. No way that warrants a first round draft grade. Having said that, I don’t think Brady should have fallen to 199th pick. Many teams screwed up.

  15. Another charter member of the liar’s club, along with Goodell, Grigson, Kensil, 31 jealous owners, and “I don’t know a thing about any deflated balls” Pagano.

  16. Yeah i bet they had a “1st round grade.” Look, im a diehard pats fan but MAYBE 2nd-3rd round would make sense. Pennington was the consensus top QB in 2000, then Chris Redman.

    How in the hell tommy went after Giovanni Carmazzi, Spurgeon Wynn, Tee Martin, and Bulger baffles me.

    Then again, Mark Messier went in the 3rd round. As much as Kiper is a clown, he was spot on with his assessment. The bad 40 time, the average build, not a cannon like Drew/Peyton/A-Rod.

    But, thanks anyways Polian. Good to know you understand talent, and when you’re losing to have rules changed to help you out. Which is funny because Belichick DESTROYED the colts when he talked to willie at the combine the other day. Especially, the rule change.

  17. Polian did a wonderful job as GM in Buffalo & Indy, lets give him that. But his comments on Brady simply hold no water.

    If he really had a 1st round grade on Brady, he couldn’t possibly pass on him in round 5, unless he had 2 awesome backup qbs…which he didn’t.

    And I was an owner, and watched a GM not take a player in round 5 that they had graded as a 1st rounder, I would fire that GM the very next day.

  18. Next he’s going to claim he told Lincoln not to go to Ford’s theater the night he was shot .

  19. I don’t think a retired GM should be held to a higher standard than our president. Poor Brady. He ends up in the middle of all this stuff.

  20. poor analysis.

    If you have a HOF QB on your roster, you would never waste even a low round pick on Brady. He would never get 1st team reps or have been able to do anything to develop the skills that led him to become “Tom Brady” rotting the bench behind Manning. What trade value would you have ever gotten from a QB who arguably stunk in college, who has the body of a highschooler, and who would have had to experience other than playing mop up in training camp?

    The argument of the Pats drafting other QBs is bogus. None of those guys were drafted to be his replacement or even to provide reasonable competition. They were all training camp arms or drafted to be backups.

    of all the teams that passed on him, Indy is the only one who reasonably passed for legitimate football reasons

  21. Polian belongs in the Hall of Fame of self promoters. I’m surprised he didn’t take credit for telling Dick Rehbein about the potential of Tom Brady.

  22. My guess is one lowly scout that nobody listened to was saying Brady was a first rounder and now Bill Polian is trying to take credit for it 17 years later.

    That’s the secret to success folks publicaly take credit for things that went right and successfully blame others for things that went wrong.

    Presidents

    CEOs

    Every human being on earth… some of us are just better at it than others

  23. Seriously Bill, the only reason you are in the hall of fame is because the coin flip was heads and then you drafted Manning, had the coin flip came up tails you were going to draft Leaf. Go away please Bill.

  24. Also picked Dewey over Truman, Ali over Liston and trump over Clinton.
    See ya in Vegas Bill !

  25. Give it five more years. The story then will be that they were lobbying to pick Brady in round one but Irsay wouldn’t let them.

  26. Bill, where do you think the stock market will be in 2008? I trust your judgement. I wouldn’t want to lose 50% of my money. Thanks.

  27. Polian is the biggest fraud in GM and HoF history: Peyton Manning literally fell into his lap as the very first pick the year they had it and needed a QB, and then after many mostly unsuccessful wasted years with that great talent (despite moving the team from what was a tough AFCE to a cupcake AFCS as it was in those days), he orchestrates the Suck4Luck campaign and falls on his sword – fired for his “failure” but actually with a big retirement payoff and huge thanks from Irsay.

  28. Bill Polian has become an absolute a$$clown. First his stance on TO (believe me, it hurts to type that) and now this. Go. Away. Please.

  29. Because even at Round 5 the Colts had better options than making the pick their own board had as the absolute steal of the draft? In the quarterback market or not they’d have taken Brady if anything Polian is claiming is true.

  30. Please let this shameless fraud be in the next wave of ESPN layoffs, Surprised he didn’t use character issues as an excuse for not taking Brady.

  31. Those who claim they knew Tom Brady was going to become Tom Brady.

    You mean Tom Freakin Brady.

  32. This guy must subscribe to the Drumph technique of media relations.

    Just lie your ass off and hope nobody notices.

    Carry on, lemmings.

    Go RAIDERS

  33. Even as a Colts fan, I’m not a huge Polian fan. That said, you can have a first round grade on someone without thinking that he will go on to be arguably the best player at his position in the history of the game.

    Would TB have become TB if he was drafted by Indy?
    Peyton didn’t miss a game in his career until 2011 so he wouldn’t have gotten the chance due to injury. Also, Indy won like 12 games per year on average those years so PM would never have been replaced for performance by an unknown Brady.

    Also, would Brady even be Brady if he was taken in the first round by anyone and didn’t have that “198 people were drafted before me” chip on his shoulder? He’s absolutely great but I think that has fueled him to play at the next level his whole career.

    Lastly, would TB have become TB if he wasn’t coached by BB? That combination is among the most dominant duo in the history of team sports. Would TB have reached the level he has with Jim Mora or Tony Dungy? I tend to doubt it.

    Just my .02. Fully expecting the down votes due to Colts fandom. ; )

  34. .
    Would you give a first round grade to this guy?

    Tom Brady Positives: Good height to see the field. Very poised and composed. Smart and alert. Can read coverages. Good accuracy and touch. Produces in big spots and in big games. Has some Brian Griese in him and is a gamer. Generally plays within himself. Team leader.

    Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.

    Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength and mobility, but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but will not be for everyone.

    .

  35. He’s going senile, just like double dealing don.

    Though it’s to be expected as he’s a disciple of his former owner who is a pill popping idiot.

  36. Lastly, would TB have become TB if he wasn’t coached by BB? That combination is among the most dominant duo in the history of team sports. Would TB have reached the level he has with Jim Mora or Tony Dungy? I tend to doubt it.

    Just my .02. Fully expecting the down votes due to Colts fandom. ; )
    ______________

    I didn’t down vote you. But I will correct you. TB and BB are not “among the most dominant duo in the history of team sports”, they are THE most dominant duo. What other duo has done what they have accomplished over a 17 year period in a league designed to promote parity and a new winner every year? (Falling short in the SB is also a praiseworthy accomplishment, just like a Silver Medal.)

    BTW, they aint done yet. You know, and I know, that we’ve never seen the likes of success like this before, and neither we, nor our children will see the likes of it again.

  37. Off topic, but Polian, like Cris Carter, uses the Hall of Fame as a means to justify his worth to the game. The Hall of Fame is a joke. Since when do the archaic opinions of a couple dozen dinosaur sports writers mean anything?

  38. Frankly, Polian is either lying or admitting to a moment of gross incompetence. The fact that the Colts had Manning, the first pick in 1998, didn’t preclude them from drafting a quarterback in 2000 at or before the Patriots got Brady at pick No. 199. In 2004, for example, Polian drafted quarterback Jim Sorgi with selection No. 193.
    =====================================

    Umm, HE WAS ASKED WHO HE WOULD HAVE DRAFTED IF HE DIDN’T HAVE MANNING. ONCE MORE… “IF HE DIDN’T HAVE MANNING”. IF. IF. IT’S STATED IN YOUR OWN ARTICLE.

  39. I didn’t down vote you. But I will correct you. TB and BB are not “among the most dominant duo in the history of team sports”, they are THE most dominant duo. What other duo has done what they have accomplished over a 17 year period .
    ________________________________

    I heard that Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan had a pretty good run in the 90s if you go by championships (which is how most TB fans like to frame the discussion). This is in basketball where 1 player can turn a franchise around immediately. Every year, every team drafted a potential game changer before the Bulls picked anyone.

    Also, I said I was a Colts fan… you have to recognize how difficult it was to write a post praising TB and BB despite their obvious abilities.

  40. patsxsaintsfan says:
    Mar 7, 2017 12:20 PM
    Polian is the worst person on ESPN by far. Yesterday during the scouting combine while discussing mike Williams from Clemson he said he is no Marvin Harrison just to show off the fact that he was able to draft a HOF WR. Polian didn’t have a first round grade on Brady, no one did otherwise polian or 31 other GMS would have drafted him in the first 5 rounds. You got your gold jacket already you don’t have to lie about who you wanted to draft.
    ————–

    And Polian didn’t even draft Harrison. He did have the chance to draft Harrison when he was still in Carolina. He drafted a bust RB instead.

  41. abninf says:
    Mar 7, 2017 1:55 PM

    Umm, HE WAS ASKED WHO HE WOULD HAVE DRAFTED IF HE DIDN’T HAVE MANNING. ONCE MORE… “IF HE DIDN’T HAVE MANNING”. IF. IF. IT’S STATED IN YOUR OWN ARTICLE.

    ———————

    If I gave a qb falling to me in the draft that I already know to be that good (this is Tom Brady we are talking about) I dont care who I already have Im grabbing him. Ill figure out the log jam later but no I would not just pass over a TB level qb if I already know how good he is.

    If Polian really did decide to pass on TB all the time knowing how good he was then I dont know what to say to that. (Except I really dont believe his claim that he knew)

  42. Not only did Polian not have Brady in the first round, he came within an hour of taking Ryan Leaf instead of Peyton Manning. He’s a fraud who got where he is by feeding the press information they desired and in return he gets voted into the HOF. The one thing I’ll give him is he’s the luckiest con artist that has ever worked in the NFL. The Bills had already drafted Jim Kelly, not him. Peyton fell into his lap, (and he almost blew that one). Andrew Luck fell into his lap but he and his kid were fired before they could draft him. His drafts stunk after he got rid of all his experienced scouts and put his kid in charge. He couldn’t draft a letter on his own. He signed every free agent available when he went to Carolina, had a great year and then almost plummeted the franchise into bankruptcy and they only been in the league for a couple of years. He’s a fraud and the media plays along to get what they want and all they have to do is perpetuate his version of how he sees his legacy.

  43. orrnumberfour – Generally Pats fans won’t give you a down vote because of what team you are a fan of even if its the dispicable Colts. You get down votes because of what you say.

    What you said was reasonable and probably true. If the Colts had picked Brady in the 4th or 5th rounds, he likely woud have wound up being Manning’s back up for 4 years and have become a FA, where he would have gone to another team and become what he became, a star NFL QB.

    No Pats fan would ever tell you that Brady in 2001 would become the GOAT. At the time we were happy he was a competent QB who didn’t lose games. It wasn’t until the 2003 Superbowl and the 2004 season that we knew we had an elite QB. But it wasn’t until the 2007 that we got an incling of what he could become. Then we saw what we THOUGHT was the standard age decline in 2012-2013 where he was good but not great…..and no honest Pats fan would tell you we expected him to actually IMPROVE his game from 2014-to the present.

    Now would he have been as great with another team, and another HC, I don’t think so. But there is no doubt in my mind he would have ended his career as one of the best QB’s of his era regardless of the team he was with.

  44. You dont let a player regardless of position fall that late into the draft if you have a 1st round grade on them. There is no way Polian had a 1st round grade on Brady, but if he did he looks like more of a moron. His teams were never built on depth which is why Peyton had great numbers on offense but their team couldnt survive injuries or properly allocate money for anything but Peyton’s toys. It got him a bunch of records but when the offense flopped they were done, even if the defense played well and that happened pretty frequently in the postseason when Manning wasnt able to run up the score with his offense. Polian gave Manning a great offense, a good defense and great defensive coach but he never gave the Colts depth.

  45. Bill shouldn’t have put all his chips on the table and lied and said they had a 1st round grade on Brady. He should have lied and said they had a 3rd rd grade and he MAY have been able to have some people believe him and his ego would have been boosted. Now, he just looks like an insecure fool.

  46. “Bill Polian has become an absolute a$$clown.”

    What do you mean “has become”???? He’s always been an absolute a$$clown. And that was on his good days.

  47. If Bill recalls his own scouting report on Brady correctly he mentioned “future HOF type”, “could win multiple SBs” “Everyone will regret passing on this guy…”

  48. If he is so good at rating QBs, why didn’t he have a replacement for Manning? Or is he admitting “suck for Luck was a real strategy approved by him”?

  49. Hey, Mr. Polian, there’s a reason that your rear-view mirror is so small and your windshield is so large.

    Stop with the revisionist history, it’s a bad look for you. But I know that it’s all you have to hold onto now. We are all created equal, but some of us excel at a much faster rate than others. Hence Mr. Belicheck, every presser he holds reminds me of a line in the movie Gumball Rally, ‘What’s behind me doesn’t matter!’

    We’re on to #6…Move over Pittsburg.

  50. So tired of this crusty old geezer. He always has to say outlandish things so we talk about him. He was bailed out by Peyton his whole career and is a highly overrated GM for talent assessment. The zombies at ESPN apparently still have use for you though…

  51. How is this guy employed? He is always full of S..t. Tries to always take credit for other peoples good decisions, and then (obviously) forsaw other peoples mistakes. Why doesn’t he have 10 or 12 super bowl rings?

  52. Surely the Colts produced a draft binder in 2000. Show us the pages. Or relegate this to a Trumpian Claim.

    (A Trumpian Claim is a statement about a past event that has no factual backing but is intended to make the person making the claim appear smarter than they actually are.)

  53. Well this is interesting. Tell ya what Bill, as has been reported numerous times over the years, prior to the 2000 draft, the Patriots were the only team to request tape on Tom Brady from Michigan.
    So you guys had a #1 grade on a player you never bothered to request tape on.
    Okey doke…
    And I love how he drops Roethlisberger’s and Aaron Rodgers’ names too.
    Let me guess; he liked Ben over Eli and Philip Rivers all along (despite both being drafted ahead of Roethlisberger). Of course he did!
    And he also loved Aaron Rodgers much more than Alex Smith, who went 20-something picks ahead of AR. Well, of course he did again!
    This guy’s amazing!!

  54. QB Film Room says:
    Mar 7, 2017 12:12 PM

    How Peyton Co-Existed with you for all those years really is remarkable. Bill you are annoying more often than not
    ___________
    Can you provide an example of him not being annoying?

  55. Some other things Bill Polian has done:

    1) sent telegraph to Titantic about an iceberg dead ahead
    2) warned of potential stock market “disruption” in 1929
    3) warned FAA on 9/11 to shut down flights, on a hunch
    4) informed Darren Bevell to run the ball because he had 1st rd grade on an unknown rookie named Malcolm Butler

  56. Brady was considered a 3rd round pick at the time. Nothing about what Polian said indicates that he’s lying.

  57. joe6606 says:
    Mar 7, 2017 12:45 PM

    poor analysis.

    If you have a HOF QB on your roster, you would never waste even a low round pick on Brady. He would never get 1st team reps or have been able to do anything to develop the skills that led him to become “Tom Brady” rotting the bench behind Manning. What trade value would you have ever gotten from a QB who arguably stunk in college, who has the body of a highschooler, and who would have had to experience other than playing mop up in training camp?

    The argument of the Pats drafting other QBs is bogus. None of those guys were drafted to be his replacement or even to provide reasonable competition. They were all training camp arms or drafted to be backups.

    of all the teams that passed on him, Indy is the only one who reasonably passed for legitimate football reasons

    =================

    poor analysis.

    Colts drafted a late round QB more than once during the Manning era (Curtis Painter, Jim Sorgi) AND they drafted a late round QB in the same draft as purported sure thing Andrew Luck. Pats have also shown the value in this as evidenced by the Cassel trade and the current boosted value of Garappolo. And the Packers as well when they picked Rodgers who slipped to them. I mean Mike Glennon, who didn’t play last year just got a big contract and the starting job from the Bears. To say Indy is the only team that passed on Brady based on “legitimate football reasons” also doesn’t hold up as there were many great QBs in the NFL in 2000 whose teams were all set at QB, including the Patriots.

    And Brady didn’t “stink in college”, he went 20-5.

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