[UPDATE]: We have an update on this story here. --bbs
If you were a Colts fan within range of a radio or an Internet connection, you likely listened to the Bill Polian Show this evening. This show is a regular for Bill, where he takes calls from fans from 6pm-7pm on local Indy station HANK FM. However, if you tuned in this evening, what you heard were some very irate but thoughtfully articulate Colts fans essentially tell Bill Polian that his excuses for pulling starters against the Jets were unacceptable to the Colts fanbase (our open thread for the show is here).
- One caller claimed Polian and the Colts had run from the win.
- Another caller, a polite but obviously agitated lady, brought up the point that it was unfair to charge fans high ticket prices during a recession only to see the team pull starters.
- Another fan, which happened to be the last caller of the show, challenged Polian by stating the obviously: The Colts did not put forth a maximum effort to win because they pulled their starters at a critical time in the game.
All of this resistance to Polian, the Colts, and their excuses for not trying to win the ballgame seemed too much for the Colts president. Midway through the final caller, with about ten minutes to go in the show, the show was cut-off. The station immediately threw in music and commercial filler, and thus, the Bill Polian Show was abruptly ended. Perhaps there was a technical failure. Perhaps a major FM radio station in a somewhat large metro area lost their feed. Perhaps one day flaming monkey will shoot magically from my butt. [UPDATE]: Turns out the feed from HANK FM did indeed die because the show was heard in its entirety at 1070 The Fan, the AM station that also carries the Bill Polian Show. Bad, bad, BAD timing to have a feed like that go dead! We have more on this in another article, including a possible explanation as to why Polian was seemingly not present with Bob Lamey for the show's wrap-up.
To put what happened in a proper context, just like pulling the starters Sunday, Bill Polian seemed to pull himself out of the show early to avoid further injury.
Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.
More on this catastrophe of a game and a show after the jump.
To start, Bill Polian's relationship with fans is now severely damaged. It might not even be salvageable. Hoosiers do not take kindly to people belittling their opinions, which is what Polian has done these last 24 hours to Colts fans. I also do not think he or the other powers-that-be in the Colts organization really knew just how much fan backlash there would be against this decision. They seem to be genuinely dumbstruck that people would be this pissed because the Colts quit in their game against the Jets.
There is just no way to rationally defend the babbling, logically-flawed nonsense Polian started his show with, and his attitudes towards the very polite, very understandably upset Colts fans seemed to write a new definition for the word "rude." I feel sorry for the Colts PR Department. I really do. No amount of Mr. Clean will be able to easily wash away the murder scene that was the 12/28/09 airing of the Bill Polian Show.
After making a bunch of claims that how winning 23 straight games was important and getting the most wins in a decade was important but going how 16-0 wasn't (huh?), Bill Polian started taking some callers. To HANK FM's credit, they did not seem to screen the callers for obvious Polian bootlickers. For this, we commend HANK FM.
The people who called in seemed to gracefully and articulately express the anger fans had towards the decision. The lady caller (whose name escapes me) offered one of the best arguments, but Polian's response to her was anything but articulate or graceful. He accused her on air of reading from "talking points," and did not allow her to respond to his accusation. The final caller, who was cut off when the show was seemingly stopped short ten minutes early, was the one who sounded as if he got the under Polian's skin the most. He stated pretty much what many of us have said the last 24 hours. Polian made a claim that the Colts give maximum effort during every game, and expect that same effort from players, coaches, and personnel people. The caller countered with an obvious, and devastating retort: Benching starters at a critical time in a ball game is NOT giving maximum effort to win.
This seemed to drive Polian nuts.
Polian then countered, with his voice much more animated, by asking the caller what would do if he ran the Indianapolis Colts with the upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills. Would he force injured players to play in a meaningless game? The caller countered that such a request or situation was not what he and other fans were questioning. The caller then seemed to make the point that Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, and Reggie Wayne were all pulled from the football game yesterday at a critical time, and the benchings were not injury-related. The issue wasn't playing injured players. The issue was benching healthy ones when the game was still winnable.
It was at this point that the broadcast went dead.
When the dust settles from all this, the damage done between the Colts organization and the fans will be quite severe. Bill Polian did nothing last night to stop the angry tide against him. If anything, he incited more. The man is an abject failure at public relations and has seemingly no regard for fans or their opinions.
Dear Jim Irsay, lock this guy up somewhere and cool him off. That, or give him a rattle and a diaper. Either way, keep him away from hard-working, loyal Colts fans, because he clearly doesn't like it when they hold him to adult-like standards of accountability and respect.