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Should the Indianapolis Colts have fired Bill and Chris Polian?

January 3, 2012 |  1:37 pm


Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the Indianapolis Colts' firing of vice president Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian. You can join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

Let’s limit this to Bill Polian, as he was the true decision maker here and Chris is clearly replaceable. Firing him was the right thing to do because the Colts need a fresh start, and need to be as attractive and malleable as possible to attract the best next coach. With Polian there, an executive with arguably more power than any in the NFL, a new coach would be plugged in to that rigid pecking order. That won’t work for everyone.

The fact that the Colts were a house of cards without Peyton Manning suggests they weren’t prepared to deal with a worst-case scenario. That falls not just on the coaches, but also on the front office. Polian has an impressive resume and clearly knows personnel, but his recent drafts with the Colts haven’t been particularly inspired. It’s not as if a talented new GM would necessarily be a step down, and clearly his iron-fisted management style has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

Jim Irsay called the firings “an intuitive decision where you feel that the time is right to make a change.” Considering that’s coming from the person who knows the organization better than anyone, it was time.

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

The only reason for the Colts to have fired Bill and Chris Polian is they wanted different. But different isn’t always better, and in the case of the Polians it’s going to be very difficult to be better. An injury to Peyton Manning and a 2-14 season was a convenient excuse to bring about change that never would have happened during the Colts’ great run of success.

Bill Polian’s track record as a team architect in Indianapolis, Carolina and Buffalo is almost unmatched. The situation was muddled a little because the elder Polian has ceded many of his football responsibilities to his son Chris, who is unproven. My guess is if Chris Polian had been given a chance to draft Andrew Luck, he would have looked pretty smart in about five years.

Mike Berardino, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Of all the professional casualties on the NFL’s annual Black Monday, the most surprising came in Indianapolis.

Bill Polian, architect of two Colts Super Bowl teams, was ousted as the team’s football czar, and his son Chris, the Colts GM, was kicked to the curb, too.

Was it justified? That’s impossible to say without knowing the inner dealings between the Polians and Twitter-happy club owner Jim Irsay.

Irsay, who paid Peyton Manning $26 million to spend this season rehabbing his neck, recently made it clear he was more than willing to pay Manning another $28 million in 2012, injury risk or not.

Perhaps the Polians, who drafted Manning first overall 14 years ago, were ready to move on and start fresh with Andrew Luck atop this year’s draft.

That’s the sort of disagreement that leads to a football divorce.

Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun

For the Colts to go forward, whether it be with Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck at quarterback, the Polians probably had to go. It’s hard to sell to your fans that you’re actually going in a new direction by letting 69-year-old Bill Polian and his son, Chris, run the front office. Coach Jim Caldwell will probably be the next to go, rightly or wrongly.

I think it’s fair to give credit to the Polians for building the Colts around Manning and winning a Super Bowl, but they must also be blamed for being so dependent on Manning that the team had the NFL’s worst record without him.

The next stop for Bill Polian is likely the Hall of Fame. Chris Polian will find another job. The bigger question facing the Colts is: which quarterback do you want leading your franchise in 2012 and beyond? The person providing the answer to that question will no longer be a Polian, and that's probably best for everyone involved.


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Photo: Bill Polian, left, Jim Irsay and Chris Polian. Credit: Sam Riche / McClatchy Tribune