If you missed yesterday's interview with Colts president Bill Polian, conducted by local Indianapolis radio personality John Michael Vincent (JMV), you missed a doozy.
While no fireworks were on display, JMV did a nice job getting truly relevant information out of Polian. We're still in the process of absorbing the entire 30 minutes of the interview, but one thing we took out of the first few minutes was that Bill Polian is shifting more responsibility to his son Chris, who is the team's General Manager. Some have taken this as a sign that the old redhead is taking a step back, and that is this step one in a 'long goodbye' between Bill Polian and the Colts.
Of course, Bill himself refutes this:
My focus is going to turn towards labor. Much more in depth in terms of developing a strategy for the way forward with a new labor agreement, whenever that comes. In terms of football, as strongly as ever, with personnel and maybe even expanding that a little bit, getting away from day-to-day administration, which Chris is going to take over. Salary cap management, which Chris is going to take over. Which will give me more time to get into strategy and football.
We plan to post more bytes from this interview, but from this section I took this: According to Bill Polian, whoever was doing 'personnel' decisions the last few years was not Bill Polian. Thus, he is now giving all the boring, tedious, time-consuming garbage tasks to his son, Chris, allowing Bill more time to focus more on personnel.
Considering the last three first round draft picks for the Colts have been busts (Tony Ugoh, Donald Brown, Jerry Hughes), Bill saying he is going to pay more attention to personnel suggests that someone up high (aka, Jim Irsay) is not happy with how personnel is being handled.
It's long been rumored that the last few drafts were run by Chris Polian, including the now-infamous Tony Ugoh trade of 2007. It's also been rumored that Chris was the driving force behind the Colts jettisoning long-time personnel consultant Dom Anile, who was just as instrumental in building the Colts the last ten years as Bill Polian was. With Chris looking to become the GM of the team (he'd received an offer from the Falcons in 2008 before they hired Ted Dimitroff), the presence of Anile could have been a threat to this, especially considering that Anile would often lock horns with the Polians in the draft room. From John Oehser:
Part of [Anile's] value was the willingness to go against the opinion of the room occasion, which can be a valuable thing in any decision-making process.
Six months after Anile was canned, Chris was promoted GM and VP of Football Operations.
That Bill has already publicly acknowledged that drafting Jerry Hughes was a mistake, it suggests that Hughes was Chris' guy, not Bill's.
Knowing Bill's tendency for throwing people under the bus, it's not out of the question that he could be doing the same thing here to his own son; blaming Chris for the recent draft mistakes and now 'taking charge' himself to ensure such mistakes don't happen going forward with a potentially new labor agreement. Regardless of the reasons, changes of this kind are not made unless someone is unhappy with where the team is going from a personnel standpoint.
What this all says, to me, is that Chris Polian sucks at talent evaluation. Bill is acknowledging this and, rather than fire his own son, he is taking the personnel duties away from him and handing over all the boring, administrative tasks.
Personally, I don't believe for one second that Bill wasn't always 100% involved in personnel decisions. Nothing happens at West 56th Street unless Bill OKs it. That he is saying this now suggests, to me, that he's blowing smoke; looking for a way to cover up roster deficiencies while not taking blame himself.