The day after Super Bowl 44, Bill Polian went on his radio show and said the following:
"Our offensive line, by our standards, did not have a good game," Polian said of Sunday’s performance. "They were outplayed by the Saints’ defensive line."
These were comments that the Colts offensive linemen seemingly did not appreciate, especially since the Colts offense did not surrender a sack in Super Bowl 44, and helped the running backs rushing for 99 yards on 19 carries, and a TD.
Not long after the dust settled, and Polian's comments were echoed on just about every TV show and website in creation, Colts center Jeff Saturday went on local Indianapolis channel WTHR and said Polian's opinion was, quite simply, not something he agreed with:
"I don't agree," Saturday said. "I looked at the film, I've watched it and, yeah, obviously he has his right to his opinion and he's gonna say it. I went back and looked at it, I looked at the numbers again. We rushed the ball for well over five yards a carry. We didn't give up any sacks. Peyton got hit maybe a couple times."
In that same interview, Jeff went on to say he didn't like how Polian used the media to be critical of the o-line.
I don't ever like things being done in the press. I would have much rather [Polian] sat us [the offensive line] down if that were really the case or he really felt like that.
Well, recently, Ryan Diem made a comment about the offensive line's performance in Miami last February in an interview on the Colts.com show "The Heavyweights." While ansering a question about how Jim Caldwell was able to keep the o-line fresh all throughout last season (seemingly better than former-coach Tony Dungy did when he ran the show), Diem made a comment that seemed to echo Saturday's rebuff of Polian back in early March:
Regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl, I thought the offensive line played well. I thought we were fresh. We weren't banged up to bad, and we were able to kind of manage throughout the year.
Though I doubt that this little disagreement between the players and the team president will translate into little more than off-season fodder for blogs like this one, it does warrant further close watching as mini-camp approaches. We now have two established, well-respected veterans saying, in public, that the president of the team is wrong and that the Colts o-line did indeed play well in Super Bowl 44.
Now, Diem obviously didn't go so far as to say Polian's comments were in the heat of the moment, as Jeff Saturday implied in his comments last March. Diem didn't even mention Polian. However, Diem and Saturday are friends, and have played together a long time on this o-line. So, for me, it is not surprising that they seemingly share the opinion that Polian's criticisms of the o-line were not grounded in fact.
Though, during this off-season, Bill Polian's actions (which always speak louder than his words) have suggested that his comments were not in the heat of the moment. He was not just mad, and vented his frustration at the offensive line.
He meant what he said if you follow what he's done since that game.
We've seen the Colts best guard, Ryan Lilja, cut for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Lilja and Diem are good friends, by the way. We've also seen the Colts bring in bigger, stronger interior linemen such as Andy Alleman and the recently drafted Jacques McClendon. And then, there is Adam Terry, who just so happens to play Diem's position of right tackle.
While I do not think Diem or Saturday are likely to lose their starting jobs, it will be interesting to see if their public comments contradicting Polian will affect anything. I doubt they will, but stay tuned.