Dan Dakich. Photo: nbcsportsmedia4.msnbc.com
For those that think I am confusing things, the General Manager of the Colts is indeed Chris Polian. He is pretty obviously related to the President of Indianapolis Colts. That guy's name is Bill Polian. Perhaps you've heard of him. Recently, Chris Polian was on 1070 The Fan's Dan Dakich Show, talking about the Colts draft, the rookie mini-camp, and the negative perception Chris' father, Bill, has with the media.
Before I post articles about the substance of that conversation, I'd like to take the time here to trash Dan Dakich a bit.
For the sake of politeness, I'll take a quick second to talk up Dakich's strengths prior to me trashing him for the media hack he presented himself as in his interview with Chris Polian. Dakich seems like a good guy. He's got a nice voice for radio. He's engaging. He's funny. Back when he coached basketball, he did a good job in an impossible situation at IU, taking over (on an interim basis) for the corrupt Kelvin Sampson after Sampson was fired.
That said, Dakich really needs to understand that he is in the media now, and the slurp job he did with Chris Polian yesterday is better suited for male porn than sports journalism.
One of Dan's early questions to Chris Polian was such a set-up, softball, bullsh*t-style question that it nearly induced vomiting.
Dakich: Does it amuse you when you see your father kind of portrayed as a guy that isn't media friendly? Because, I've been saying on this show that no one is more friendly to the media, comes on our show, comes on Eddie, does his own show; does that amuse you a little bit, the mis-perception of your father?
Chris: I don't don't know if it amuses me or, as you know, we're not terribly hung up on perception. I think you certainly worked in a program, and headed your own program, where you focus much more on what you feel is reality than perception.
Dakich: Well, I get a kick out of things. When I'm doing this job, I kind of study the media a little bit. And I'm sitting here thinking, Man, your dad is, like, the best guy ever! In terms of, "Hey Bill, can you come on?" "Sure." You know, it just strikes me as pretty funny
Just as you guys have seen me, in the past, rip people like Peter King and Mike Florio, I'm about ready to tear Dan Dakich a new one. It's slurp jobs like this that made me start blogging in the first place.
To start, there is no "mis-perception" that Bill Polian is not media friendly. The reality is the media, overall, thinks he's an assh*le, and that he's about as friendly to them as a chainsaw is to a redwood.
I've talked to dozens of people in established media, from SI to PFT to NBC to ESPN. Not one person, not one, has told me Bill Polian is friendly to media. Everyone lauds his ability to build great teams. Everyone talks about how great his is during the NFL Draft. However, every single one had some story about Bill being an ass to a reporter, a media rep, or a columnist for reasons that, quite simply, baffle the mind. The reason Bill Polian doesn't like many of these media people is because they have an annoying habit of doing their job. There job is not to do what Dakich did, which was suck up to the Polian family.
Their job is to ask tough questions.
Their job is to hold Bill accountable for his decisions.
Their job is to get information from Bill Polian and convey it to their readers in the most truthful, honest way possible.
It is not the job of media to, essentially, be an arm of the Colts PR department, and that is exactly how Dakich comes off here in this opening part of the interview. It most certainly is not a "mis-perception" that Bill Polian is unfriendly to the media.
It's pretty much the universal to everyone in the media: Bill Polian is an assh*le.
It's not like there are people out there writing hit pieces on the guy left and right. However, when you ask Bill Polian a question he doesn't like, or you write something he might disagree with, he has a tendency to act like an 8-year-old little boy who was just grounded.
Look no further back than his temper tantrum towards fans on his radio show after Week Sixteen, or his obnoxious, finger-pointing press conference after the Super Bowl. And these stories pale in comparison to some of the other things I've heard from people privately.
"Everyone's got at least one Bill Polian story," is something a well-established writer told me at the 2010 NFL Draft, and those stories are all of Bill Polian treating so-and-so in the media like sh*t. The universal narrative I got from numerous people is that the Colts, and Bill Polian, view the media as "the enemy." The running joke is that if the Colts could play football games without the press or fans in attendance, they'd be a-okay with that.
So, not offense Dan, but while you are sitting there "doing your job" and "thinking about the media," maybe you should actually go out and, you know TALK to people in he media, like I did. You'll figure out real quick that the media perception of Bill Polian is indeed the reality. Dan's attempt to attach his lips to Chris Polian's ass was embarrassing. Dan's job is to get information from Chris Polian, not placate him by sucking up to him and his father. It's also Chris Polian's job to answer Dan Dakich, regardless of what question is asked. The team has a responsibility to the media and to the fans.
All that said, I'll re-iterate what I have written, many, many, MANY times on this blog: Bill Polian is an amazing talent evaluator and football roster builder. He's a future Hall of Famer, no question about it.
But, "media friendly?" No, absolutely not. He is a complete jerk to the media, and it's a major reason why Bill has only worked for teams in small markets. Bill would not last two months working in New York, Philadelphia, or Boston. The media in those cities simply would not tolerate his bullying. You can bully around media people in small markets like Indy, Charlotte, and Buffalo. But in NYC or Boston, that type of attitude toward the press will get the entire city turned on you very, very quickly.
Again, as many of you know, for many years I have used this blog to defend Bill Polian from a lot of media criticism. However, since Week Sixteen, and since a few other things that have happened behind the scenes that I haven't shared because I'm not that much of a jerk, I can tell you that Bill Polian's reputation in the media is deserved and very much a product of his own doing.
Dan Dakich should know this, and likely does. However, because Dakich kind of comes off as a suck up and not as a real journalist, Bill Polian likes him and treats him "friendly." It's all just a pathetic spectacle of back-scratching, and it drives people like me crazy. To Chris Polian's credit, I've heard that he is not the same sort of assh*le to media that his father is. Hopefully, when he takes over this team, the great team building will continue while a better, more civil relationship with media and fans is established.