Surprise: Polian can’t believe a team would sit starters


Former Bills, Panthers and Colts executive Bill Polian has never been shy with his opinions.

And now that he’s a member of the media being paid to share them, he’s not shy about changing them either.

During a spot with ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” show when they were discussing the Atlanta Hawks’ tanking a game, Polian was asked about the propriety of sitting starters late in seasons.

You’ve got to try and win every game,” Polian said, via Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

Of course, Polian dictated the opposite in 2009, when his Colts pulled starters and lost their last two games after locking up the top seed in the playoffs.

Polian called a perfect season “inconsequential” at the time, saying he wanted his team healthy entering the playoffs. But in the context of a basketball team doing the same thing, his ideas apparently changed.

“It’s a interesting conundrum because you can see both sides of it,” Polian said this week. “On the one hand, they want to set up the best playoff matchup, to go as far as they possibly can. On the other hand . . . at the prices that a professional sport charge these days, at the price that’s charged for luxury boxes and concessions and parking and all of that, it’s really a disservice to the fans, I think, to be in a situation where unless you are absolutely sure that you’d run the risk of injury by playing a player, that you sit him out.

“That’s been a problem for the NBA. It has not been, it never has been a problem in the NFL and that’s simply because job security is so difficult in the NFL. You’ve got to try and win every game.”

Polian has also flip-flopped recently on issues as inconsequential as whether Reggie Bush was good at football or not.

Frankly, it’s sad to see. Polian’s voice has always been one of the most respected in the NFL. But the more he uses it in exchange for money, the more he seems to devalue the words that flow forth.

26 responses to “Surprise: Polian can’t believe a team would sit starters

  1. All he does is talk out of both sides of his mouth have an opinion and stick to it and no one cares because his opinions are meaningless he was an above average gm but god awful on TV not to mention wrong and annoying

  2. This guy has proven Irsay made the right decision over and over the past few months with his backtracking and such.

    Or maybe he’s just developing dementia in his old age.

  3. This is astonishing.

    Was there a follow up question? Only a clown show like Mike & Mike could let an answer like that go unchallenged.

    I never believed that Polian had much of a problem with self-awareness, but that is simply unbelievable.

  4. Look, I enjoy reading this site, but lets call it like it is; the last sentence of this article is also applicable to Florio and company. In fact, it’s applicable to all of the talking heads who work for a major media outlet. It is what it is.

  5. As a Colts fan, I just shook my head when hearing him say this on “Mike and Mike” yesterday.

    Job security was difficult for Polian because he promoted his bumbling son to GM. Grigson has already drafted more quality players in one year than Chris Polian did in his entire time running the Colts’ draft room.

  6. I am not a Polian fan, but there is nothing wrong with his reversal. We all learn from mistakes. We all change with time. Our point of view can also change.

  7. Believe it or not, even as a Pats fan I was a ~little~ (just a little) disappointed when they started pulling their starters against the Jets instead of going for it.

    Just as a fan of football, you could see the looks on the players faces as the Jets took over the game with Peyton on the sidelines.

    Also as someone who has spent obscene amounts of money to attend NFL games, to drop a couple hundred bucks at least to watch your 14-0 team tank a game they were winning was a shame.

    The way it was done just screamed of “WE are in charge of this team, not the fans and NOT the players.”

    Bravo Colts management. You did in fact go down in history in 2009.

    And your players and fans got hosed in the process.

  8. another one of these talking heads that is propped up for all us fans to eat exactly what they say as if it were 100% true!
    i’m tired of the guys like polian cris carter warren sapp rodney harrison tony dungy and others. i wish they would just go away! the network powers that be apparently think us fans are dumb mindless sheep

  9. Without Peyton Manning, he’s shown to be the poor judge of talent that he really is.
    Wasn’t he GM when the colts rested their starters with a perfect record???

  10. Bill Polian was so obsessed with the Patriots during the 2000s, that honestly I believe they didn’t go for the perfect season just so that if they won the SB, Polian would have been able to point to his method and say it was better than Belichick’s.

  11. Well, this is just a really dumb thing to say. Obviously, the goal of football is to win games, and esp. the Super Bowl. EVERYTHING, including fan experience, is subordinated to that singular goal.

  12. Polian was one of the all-time great GM’s for the better part of two decades.

    But once he passed his prime, he declined quickly….and without Peyton there to mask his deficiencies, it became apparent what a mess Polian had created.

    10-15 years ago, Polian’s opinion was worth its weight in gold. Now he’s just another talking head coasting on his success from years past.

  13. It’s convenient for fans and media to take shots at Polian, but his resume speaks for itself. He is one of the best football minds of his or any other generation.

  14. If he truly changed his opinion, why would he wait until he was a talking head to do it? One would think 2009 would have been enough for him to change his mind. I am glad I didn’t see that episode of mike & Mike as my laughter would have woken the neighbors.
    Let’s not forget Kerry Collins saying when he played for Tenn that Dungy and Fisher basically conspired to throw their game.

  15. Remember when this site was about football news and rumors instead of heavily opinionated insight about the opinions of an analyst?

    How hard did Florio push you to throw in a political angle?

  16. Polian’s contradiction is no different than Herm Edwards and Jon Gruden now yapping about the importance of having an “elite” quarterback. Funny that neither one of them saw that importance back when they were head coaches.
    ESPN employees are highly paid to promote ESPN’s agendas. Either toe the company line or else…
    Do you actually believe that all those ESPN analysts actually enjoy soccer?

  17. Polian’s decision cost that team a championship. They walked the jets into the tournament and faced a lethargic ravens team that year. The first them they faced was the saints. They didn’t have that same momentum that carried them through comeback after comeback. Polian can hit the bricks.

  18. I don’t have a problem with sitting starters but do have a problem with playing vanilla schemes if you do play the starters. Week 17 of 2010 Bears against Boogahs is a prime example, if Bears had brought out their regular game plan then they would’ve swept them and prevented them from making the playoffs….

  19. So you’re telling me the Vice Chairman told them to pull the starters out of the game? The coach had no choice but to pull his people? There is no way he would be able to make this decision on his own. Maybe his drafts weren’t superb, but do you think maybe near the end he was drafting the people Dungy wanted?
    His biggest mistake was having what’s his face promoted after Dungy left. He was not a good head coach.

  20. Bottom line: Polian and the Colts didn’t have the balls to try for the perfect season.

    They should be humiliated by that. At least the Patriots tried – the Colts didn’t have the guts to try.

    Of course, without the Colts sitting their players and giving away a game to the Jets, the Jets wouldn’t have made the playoffs and chances are Wrecks Ryan would now be looking for a job.

    From a comic relief standpoint, fans of all non-Jets team owe Polian a debt of gratitude for keeping Wrecks Ryan in the NFL.

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