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Bill Polian: Browns tanked last year, that may become common


Bill Polian presided over the worst team in the NFL as the G.M. of the Colts in 2011. That didn’t work out well for him, as he got fired at the end of the season. But it worked out well for the Colts, as it got them Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 draft. And Polian thinks some teams may actively try to be the worst team in the league, if it means drafting another franchise player.

Polian said on Mike & Mike that the Browns tanked in 2016 and may have started a trend.

“The thing that worries me is that the Browns essentially tanked the season last year and no one said — except a few of us — said anything about it. And it may well be that this is something that can spread around the league, and I don’t think that’s good for the sport in the long run. Because in the end it robs the customers of the chance to see a competitive team,” Polian said.

Polian wasn’t saying the Browns’ players were playing to lose, but he was saying that the Browns’ front office wasn’t playing to win. As evidence, Polian cited the controversy that erupted in September, when the Browns lost kicker Patrick Murray to a knee injury and signed replacement kicker Cody Parkey over Robbie Gould, whom their special teams coach reportedly wanted but who would have cost more money. Parkey promptly missed three field goals in an overtime loss.

“They lost their placekicker to injury. Robbie Gould was out there. They signed a player with no track record at all,” Polian said.

Polian said that in a discussion of whether the Jets are tanking, although he didn’t accuse the Jets of that. Instead, Polian simply said that the Browns did it last year, and more teams may do it in the future, and that won’t be a positive development for the NFL.

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91 Responses to “Bill Polian: Browns tanked last year, that may become common”
  1. mudmandenny says: Jun 7, 2017 11:25 AM

    Well, I guess he would know a tank job when he sees one !

  2. magnumpimustache says: Jun 7, 2017 11:26 AM

    Bill Polian does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

    He does not belong on TV

    He should not be taken seriously.

  3. motown81 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:26 AM

    They will soon enough adopt a “NBA Style Draft Lottery” if this continues.

  4. TuneDawg says: Jun 7, 2017 11:27 AM

    CLEVELAND BROWNS #TrendSetters?

  5. gedole says: Jun 7, 2017 11:27 AM

    History says Polian is full of it. The Cleveland Browns PART DEUX have never had to TRY to lose. C’mon man.

  6. burtmustin says: Jun 7, 2017 11:28 AM

    The expert on Tanking speaks.

  7. Big_Mike392 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:29 AM

    I think if the Browns tried to tank, they’d go 12-4. They can’t do anything right.

  8. pauldeba says: Jun 7, 2017 11:30 AM

    It was his son that cheated, not the old Patriot Hater.

    Belichick doesn’t cheat, he’s like Jesus he pays for the sins of others

  9. dietrich43 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:32 AM

    Polian would know about tanking a season.

  10. ravenbiker says: Jun 7, 2017 11:33 AM

    No one can out-tank the Browns, even if they’re not trying to tank.

  11. rk260395 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:35 AM

    No track record? Huh? He had kicked for Philly full time in 2014. He is an 86% kicker and is 17-17 under 30 yards. And he was younger and the team was obviously rebuilding. After that one game Parker was adequate enough.

    What a silly example.

  12. pastabelly says: Jun 7, 2017 11:35 AM

    Polian likes to lie and create his own versions of history. All he had to do was tell the truth about his own tanking. There were quarterbacks available after Manning went down and Collins got hurt, but he went full TANK and went with Painter for the season. That’s a much better example than choosing Parkey over Gould.

  13. thekosarkid says: Jun 7, 2017 11:35 AM

    Get off my lawn- crochety old man polian

  14. joetoronto says: Jun 7, 2017 11:35 AM

    The biggest most obvious tank was his Colts and it’s not even close.

  15. bruiser2015 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:38 AM

    Before injury, Parkey was a decent place kicker. He wasn’t going to cost alot of money either. Gould was not going to help the Browns win the division. Shut the hell up, Polian.

  16. dvdman123 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:41 AM

    Unfortunately Tampa did it when they drafted Winston. It’s a common practice now in the NBA and the commish just ignores it.

  17. patriottony says: Jun 7, 2017 11:41 AM

    Hmm,,,cheating…slam them a 1st and 4th Rd pick…fine of a million,,,for starters

  18. chuckshontaspads says: Jun 7, 2017 11:41 AM

    Polian should have been investigated by “The Enforcer” for his tanking in the suck for Luck sweepstakes…how this guy still gets air time is baffling unless he is kept around for comedy relief.

  19. gmoney3080 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:41 AM

    I don’t think they’re tanking I just see them removing pieces that deserve better, Decker, Harris, Marshall, the offensive lineman they waived all deserved better also they were all probably too expensive.

  20. ihavenoeyedeer says: Jun 7, 2017 11:44 AM

    So, you’re telling me that if the Browns had signed Robbie Gould they would have won the division?

  21. sellingadream says: Jun 7, 2017 11:44 AM

    In 2014 Parkey set a new NFL rookie scoring record. How can Polian say he had no track record? Is he just ill informed or is he intentionally lying to make a lame point?

  22. theright0pinion says: Jun 7, 2017 11:45 AM

    Bill Polian is so full of crap he should come work for PFT

  23. kingkornkahn says: Jun 7, 2017 11:46 AM

    Cody Parkey played with Philly, so he does have a track record. Bill Polian also has a track record, of tanking.

  24. megnailsit says: Jun 7, 2017 11:46 AM

    What gall from this hypocrite old fool!

  25. The Phantom Stranger says: Jun 7, 2017 11:47 AM

    Every team makes decisions about cost vs. potential contribution. Signing a cheaper kicker (who actually did have quite a track record, Bill) is not a sign of tanking. The Bears cut Gould and kept a cheaper kicker. Does that mean they were tanking, too? The Chiefs cut Jeremy Maclin to save money. Are they tanking?

  26. donbat67 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:54 AM

    I don’t think they tanked .. mistake by the lake .

  27. mkar1835 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:55 AM

    The Browns tank every year, and I’m a lifelong season ticket holder!!

  28. monarch76 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:56 AM

    This guy hired Kerry Collins who was over 40 to be his qb. And he is going to complain about a stupid kicker?

  29. mmack66 says: Jun 7, 2017 11:59 AM

    How could you even tell?

  30. popcherrycoke says: Jun 7, 2017 12:15 PM

    Bill Polian is a joke.

  31. JayZee says: Jun 7, 2017 12:23 PM

    “Our turn”- New York Jets 2017

  32. mannyiac says: Jun 7, 2017 12:23 PM

    If anyone would know about a team tanking for a draft pick,it would be Polian.

  33. I prefer my Crush to be Orange says: Jun 7, 2017 12:24 PM

    Is Andrew Luck even the prize everybody thought he would be?

  34. nflknowitall says: Jun 7, 2017 12:26 PM

    What’s the difference between the Browns “trying” and “tanking?” Who can even tell the difference?!

  35. bbb82 says: Jun 7, 2017 12:26 PM

    Well, there is just as much evidence to say he tanked for Andrew Luck after cutting a QB is a first ballot HOF’er, that went to two super bowls after being cut. So Polian should look in the mirror before casting stones.

  36. TheBrownswillstinkagain says: Jun 7, 2017 12:32 PM

    Tanking means u have the ability to win but lose on purpose. The Browns didnt tank they just blow

  37. dsigrey says: Jun 7, 2017 12:37 PM

    This guy is a joke. At least the Browns tried to win games, unlike his Colts team.

  38. dcpatfan says: Jun 7, 2017 12:42 PM

    …more conservative hypocrisy

  39. weepingjebus says: Jun 7, 2017 12:42 PM

    The Colts complaining about tanking is almost as embarrassing as those hybrid Colts/Broncos Manning jerseys.

  40. mlvcfan says: Jun 7, 2017 12:44 PM


  41. redclaw1314 says: Jun 7, 2017 12:44 PM

    In Polian’s defense: it takes one to know one ;
    Plus a draft lottery is an excellent idea and one that should be implemented this year. It would be a great event for the NFL –they could promote the heck out of it. I propose that for the first round picks each team would get the number of chances equal to their place in the final standings. Best team gets one chance and worst team gets 32 chances. Then start picking to determine the order for every team. Imagine the suspense and the interest.

  42. tebowislife says: Jun 7, 2017 12:54 PM

    Cody Parkey was in a pro bowl. Robbie Gould is 80. Looks like the game is passing Polian by.

  43. burtmustin says: Jun 7, 2017 12:56 PM

    The Browns haven’t had a winning season in eight years and won three games in the prior season. They recently brought in a new general manager and a new coach.

    Contrast that with the Polian Colts that had nine winning seasons in a row and then proceeded to go 2-14 in 2011 when an aging (in the Colts view) Peyton Manning was out for the season and Andrew Luck was the consensus best QB coming out of college since Peyton Manning. Hmmm.

    I hope the Browns sue Polian for defamation. He works for ESPN not Pope Roger.

  44. davewr58 says: Jun 7, 2017 12:57 PM

    Polian’s full of it. If the Browns tanked, why did they play hard enough to beat San Diego, which dropped them to the #2 pick until the 49’ers won later that same day. The Brown could have locked up the #1 pick by tanking the last two games, but they didn’t and risked losing the #1 pick as a result.

  45. cantescapekarma says: Jun 7, 2017 12:58 PM

    The Jets are clearly tanking this year for a QB. Signing Josh McCown was the biggest tip off to that. The guy has been a part of how many teams getting 1st overall draft picks now? 3, 4? Plus he’s like 2-20 in his last starts, or something like that…

    Jets are being pretty obvious with the tank IMO. I hope whatever QB they pick turns into a bust! It’d serve them right.

  46. sbchampsagain says: Jun 7, 2017 12:59 PM

    Time to implement the Draft Lottery.

  47. firerogergoodellnow says: Jun 7, 2017 1:02 PM

    I don’t think a draft lottery is the answer. Many NBA teams still tank even with a lottery. Mark Cuban admitted his team did it this year. Plus, the NBA often gets accused of rigging the lottery.

  48. eagleslayer says: Jun 7, 2017 1:02 PM

    You may not like Polian but it doesn’t mean he’s not right.

  49. tjacks7 says: Jun 7, 2017 1:03 PM

    Bill Polian was the original Ted Thompson. A pathetic GM who drafted a franchise QB and coasted. Never built a defense that could help win championships and just prayed his QB could do it on his own.

  50. dws123 says: Jun 7, 2017 1:16 PM

    The Browns have been tanking since 1999

  51. agbnewfoundlaw says: Jun 7, 2017 1:19 PM

    Bill Polian does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

    He does not belong on TV

    He should not be taken seriously.

    I do not like him Sam I Am

  52. burtmustin says: Jun 7, 2017 1:23 PM

    The owners will never go for a lottery as it can keep bad teams in perpetual purgatory unless you have a shrewd GM (and only a handful of teams have that).

    I can see the two worst teams in a season flipping a coin for the top pick. That’s how they use to do it in the NBA prior to the lottery.

  53. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: Jun 7, 2017 1:28 PM

    The Browns are truly the skid marks of the league

  54. kenmasters34 says: Jun 7, 2017 1:37 PM

    “The thing that worries me is that the Browns essentially tanked the season…. And it may well be that this is something that can spread around the league”

    Uh, the Colts tanked and went 0-16, so they would be the trend setter. Also the Browns won a game that could have cost them the #1 pick (SF was 1-13 at the time)

  55. gotitan says: Jun 7, 2017 1:39 PM

    Suck for Luck!

  56. nflfan4now says: Jun 7, 2017 1:46 PM

    How about the Jets this year?

  57. naldoron says: Jun 7, 2017 1:53 PM

    Haven’t the Brown been tanking like for about 20 years now — I mean how can you tell if they are tanking – factory of sadness.

  58. bullcharger says: Jun 7, 2017 1:54 PM

    Polian is the reason that BILLS stands for Boy, I Love Losing SuperBowls.

  59. bullcharger says: Jun 7, 2017 1:58 PM

    eagleslayer says:
    Jun 7, 2017 1:02 PM
    You may not like Polian but it doesn’t mean he’s not right.


    I don’t think he’s right. I think CLE are just dysfunctional… If they were trying to tank they would probably win.

  60. elyasm says: Jun 7, 2017 1:58 PM

    Bill Polian is the Don Shula of GMs. Both lucked into landing two incredible QBs, then proceeded to squander their careers by losing one championship after another.

  61. ibillwt says: Jun 7, 2017 2:00 PM

    This from the guy whose team “sucked for Luck”?

    Polian is the master of revisionist history, remember that he had Brady rated as a first rounder but didn’t draft him because they already had Manning.

    Even if it were true, who in God’s world would want the Choker over the Champ?

  62. bobbyhoying says: Jun 7, 2017 2:08 PM

    Well the Sixers would never tank on purpose.

  63. bullcharger says: Jun 7, 2017 2:10 PM

    It isn’t basketball… getting the number one overall pick doesn’t change your team instantly. Tanking is a terrible strategy.

    You could argue that when Indy did it that it could have been worth it because Luck was supposed to be an all time great prospect. So far, not having a defense to go with Luck hasn’t worked out too well for them. One AFC Championship appearance they lost in a blowout and nothing else in 5 years.

  64. cadreamer1969 says: Jun 7, 2017 2:31 PM

    Essentially tanked? They have done that every year. They have been terrible with few exceptions since expansion in 1999. What a concept, a habitual loser tanking.

  65. heymister24 says: Jun 7, 2017 2:32 PM

    I will never forget the Colts TANKING for andrew luck. Now Polian trying to lose his stink by blaming other teams for what the Colts done did.

  66. grumpysal says: Jun 7, 2017 2:47 PM

    Apparently Polian doesn’t have any mirrors in his house or know what the word hypocrite means.

  67. realfootballfan says: Jun 7, 2017 2:53 PM

    He added, “Of course, I’m an expert on this when I directed the Colts to do this 5 years ago after Peyton Manning got hurt.”

  68. mrfrostyj says: Jun 7, 2017 3:11 PM

    I’ve been saying this for the past year. The Browns erased the last two GM’s existence in one off season.

    They spent nearly nothing in free agency in 2016

    Traded nearly everyone over the age of 30 and released the ones over 30 they couldn’t trade.

    and deferred most of their draft picks to 2017.

    They didn’t tank the 2016 season for the #1 pick like the Colts did. They tanked for the sake of sacrificing a season to collect draft picks and stockpile cap space.

    The thing that should be kept in mind is that team of practice squad players that hit the field for 16 games in 2016 was actually competitive.

    Leave it to Harvard guys to use math to rebuild a team with no one noticing.

  69. truetrue85 says: Jun 7, 2017 3:12 PM

    Polian can’t be serious here… the Browns tanked and the Colts didn’t? So you honestly mean to tell me that a ROOKIE quarterback was the difference between 2-14 and 11-5 for the Colts? Get out of here with this BS. Teams tank for the #1 pick in every league, just like your Colts did in 2011.

  70. dls5492 says: Jun 7, 2017 3:24 PM

    The Browns should of tank back when Jameis Winston was available.

  71. ibottpsgoldpants says: Jun 7, 2017 4:02 PM

    It’s obvious that they tanked. I think they were beating the Ravens by 20 in the first game before ultimately losing. There were several games like that. I’m not sure what you can do to prevent that. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t land them their franchise QB, or any QB better than what they already had for that matter.

  72. nhpats says: Jun 7, 2017 4:04 PM

    Remember when Polian whined and cried to the league to change the rules so that DBs could basically no longer cover wide receivers all because his Soft Colts could not beat the Patriots?

  73. largebill says: Jun 7, 2017 4:16 PM

    A young inexperienced team losing a lead to a better veteran team is NOT proof of intentional losing. I watched that game and players and coaches were incensed about referee calls that hurt them late. As far as Polian’s stupid comments is he claiming the Browns paid refs to blow several key calls throughout the season? The idiot female ref points at pile of players and awarded the Redskins a fumble recovery even though Duke Johnson was already out of the pile with the football.

  74. mattbilleauthor says: Jun 7, 2017 4:39 PM

    How do you say Don Shula “lucked” into Griese and Marino? They were in the draft, and the club drafted them. Marino slid down in the first round for several reasons including a good-not-great senior year, but Shula, who had not come in planning to draft a QB in the first round, jumped on him,
    Sounds like smart drafting to me.

  75. bigbenisabigbaby says: Jun 7, 2017 4:40 PM

    dls5492 says:
    Jun 7, 2017 3:24 PM
    The Browns should of tank back when Jameis Winston was available.
    Why? There are no crabs in Lake Erie.

  76. danimal1974 says: Jun 7, 2017 4:41 PM

    With the salary cap there is no reason for the NFL draft.

    Make all incoming players free agents and tanking becomes pointless.

  77. sopadegato says: Jun 7, 2017 4:43 PM

    The Browns didn’t tank. I like Myles Garrett and all, but he isn’t worth throwing a season the same way an Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston, or Marcus Mariota would be.

    Why tank for a season with such an lame QB class?

  78. somehomer says: Jun 7, 2017 4:52 PM

    How come no one gets zero wins ? I was interested in the Vegas prop odds for zero wins until I discovered not since the Lions has there been a zero win team .

  79. Underdawgs says: Jun 7, 2017 4:58 PM

    Like mrfrostyj said above, there is a difference between tanking and doing a total rebuild. Yes, you know the product in year 1 won’t be very competitive but it is a sacrifice that is needed to reshape your roster with young players that fit your system and add future assets with a long-term plan to ultimately be successful.

    Jets are now entering year 1 of the same process.

  80. elyasm says: Jun 7, 2017 5:26 PM

    Underdawgs says:
    Jun 7, 2017 4:58 PM

    Like mrfrostyj said above, there is a difference between tanking and doing a total rebuild. Yes, you know the product in year 1 won’t be very competitive but it is a sacrifice that is needed to reshape your roster with young players that fit your system and add future assets with a long-term plan to ultimately be successful.

    Jets are now entering year 1 of the same process.
    Or, you know, year 50.

  81. roddoliver says: Jun 7, 2017 5:37 PM

    There were several QBs better than Curtis Painter in 2011.

  82. TheWizard says: Jun 7, 2017 6:55 PM

    And for the Colts, it was all for nothing, because all they’ve done is let Luck get the snot knocked out of him.

  83. mitybuc says: Jun 7, 2017 7:08 PM

    Think the obvious tanking will…like how common NBA tanking is.

  84. whateverworks77 says: Jun 7, 2017 7:13 PM

    Polian = moron…must be senile….Brady was rated as 1st rounder….i know the powerball numbers for tonight…not playing them though…tanking it…parkey wasnt just pro bowl in 2014…he was all pro…only 1 at the position of kicker…what a schmo

  85. mkuske says: Jun 7, 2017 7:13 PM

    If you don’t have a franchise QB, why would you tank LAST year when there was an extremely weak QB class coming out, instead of waiting a year when the expected QB class is full of studs???

    I know it’s the Browns, but even the Jets knew to tank this year instead.

  86. realfootballfan says: Jun 7, 2017 7:17 PM

    I wouldn’t call clearing your books tanking. This is exactly what the Raiders did 5 years ago when ironically Reggie McKenzie fired Hue Jackson coming in the door. You can either try to bandage things up or rip it off, which is what he did and what the Browns did last year. You get rid of all the bad picks, which the previous 2 regimes made many, and you get rid of all of the senseless FA contracts that serve no purpose on a team going no where, which the previous 2 regimes signed like the Dansbies of the world. Now, you build from here. If they hit on a couple of players like the Raiders did, they will be competitive quickly because even with all of that, they were competitive in many games last year but their depth usually betrayed them into the second half most weeks.

  87. toddsuperbowles says: Jun 8, 2017 9:42 AM

    bullcharger says:
    Jun 7, 2017 1:54 PM
    Polian is the reason that BILLS stands for Boy, I Love Losing SuperBowls.

    That’s funny. I always thought he was the reason they were able to get to four consecutive Super Bowls. You know, because he built an amazing team. I hate the Bills but leave it to Patriots fans to put down one of the best general managers the game has ever seen. Pathetic, insecure and dare I say racist fan base.

    Whine, cry, blame, deny. The Patriots fan way

  88. NoobTubeTV says: Jun 8, 2017 2:48 PM

    Just make them sign Osweiler as punishment.

    Oh, wait.

  89. campcouch says: Jun 8, 2017 6:00 PM

    Well, if they did, it’ll probably pay off better than the Colts drafting a middling QB. They’ve gotten a ton of picks, somehow weasled a starting quarterback (who only stunk under guru O’Brien), and a draft pick…just by signing a younger cheaper kicker. The Earth is doomed!

  90. markpags says: Jun 10, 2017 7:59 AM

    I came here to rip on Polian, but y’all got it covered seven ways to Sunday so I’ll just smile and wave!

  91. sactogary says: Jun 14, 2017 2:11 PM

    I’ll never be convinced that the 2011 Broncos didn’t intend to tank in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes. Elway desperately wanted his fellow Stanford alum. The season got off to a rough start and Denver made Tebow the starter – the guy that no one else even wanted as a backup. Elway’s stoic slow clap as Tebow scored the winning touchdown against the Jets spoke volumes.

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