We've been very critical of Bill Polian this season for several things he has said and done (mostly said). His gruff manner and his tendency to say stupid things to the wrong people have got him canned in both Buffalo and Carolina. He almost got canned in Indianapolis after the fallout with Jim Mora Sr. following the disastrous 2001 season, and this year he continued his trend of acting like an arrogant jerk when he demeaned and insulted following the fans on his radio showColts controversial decision to rest starters against the Jets in Week Sixteen.
However, no matter what you think of Bill Polian as a person, and despite his horrific faults as a public relations representative for the Colts, the man is, without question, the very best NFL executive the league has ever seen.
Today, The Sporting News honored Bill Polian by naming him their George Young NFL executive of the year. This is the
fifth sixth time Polian has won this type of award, and (like Peyton Manning's fourth MVP award this year) that is an NFL record. From the man himself:
"To me, this is the most important and prestigious award a person in my position can get," Polian wrote in a wide-ranging column that appears in the new issue of Sporting News Magazine. "It's named after George Young, who was not only a friend but an incredible role model and one of the greatest executives of all time. And your peers know what your job entails — to get their vote is special."
You will often read my rants about Polian's horrible reputation in the media circles. You'll read about my annoyance with his "No Blogs!" policy when it comes to access to the team and players. You'll hear me huff and puff away on podcasts about how Colts injury reports seem sketchy. You'll hear me scream from the mountain tops about how the
paranoid supper secret tendencies of Colts management create an unnecessary barrier between the club and its patrons.
However, you will never, EVER see or hear me call Bill Polian anything other than a genius when it comes to building great football rosters. I remember very vividly in 1998 when Polian was hired, replacing the equally volatile Bill Tobin, that with the Polian hire the Colts had turned a corner. They were now serious about winning consistently.
While I will likely continue to vent my frustrations at many of Bill Polian's media policies, I will continue to maintain that the Big Red One is the best personnel man in football, period. No one comes close. Whether it's drafting Edgerrin James over Ricky Williams or finding late-round gems like Pierre Garçon or finding game-changing, undrafted rookies like Dominic Rhodes, Bill Polian knows how to build winning teams on the field. He very much deserved this award for 2009, and I am very glad they gave it to him.
Congratulations, Mr. Polian. You and I are never going to be on the same page when it comes to blogger media access, but you will always have my respect as an NFL executive.