In my time reading the many posts on this site I've really become shocked by the enormous amount of backlash against Bill Polian, particularly over the course of this season. It's obvious much of this negative reaction is based on personal feelings toward Polian as a person or how he handles himself with the media.
Let me start by stating that Bill Polian serves as the Colts Team President. Nowhere in his title does it refer to him as: Buddy To The Media/Bloggers, Caterer to Fans' Wishes or Opinions, or All-around Great Guy. If you are offended by any of this, you should probably stop reading now.
Frankly, I believe Polian's personality serves him well for the position he is in. He doesn't care what the fans think, nor should he. As fans, we are absolutely entitled to our opinions, but that's about it. We follow our favorite teams, often religiously. We want the best for our team and nothing else is acceptable. We eat, sleep, and breathe our favorite team or sport but at the end of the day, most of us don't get paychecks signed by NFL owners.
Bill Polian, however, is paid to mold the Colts into the best team possible. He has done so to the tune of 9 straight playoff appearances. No other NFL team has a current streak of more than 3 straight Playoff Appearances. There are many other facts and figures that are evidence he does a damn good job putting the best 53 men on the field for the Colts. While I don't want to bore you with too many of these I think the Colts fanbase, as evidenced by this site, has lost sight of our team's recent greatness.
-Since Polian arrived in Indy in 1998 no team has reached the Playoffs more often than the Colts.
-The Colts have won 8 Division Titles under Polian's watch (1999, 2003-07, 2009-10).
-The Colts are 141-67 since Polian took the reins. 138-54 since 1999.
-Bill Polian has been named Executive of The Year an unprecedented 6 times, most recently just one year ago in 2009. This is an award voted on by his peers. Whether fans like him or not, the man is obviously respected by the higher-ups within the league.
Polian is often cited here as neglecting the Colts fanbase. Maybe so, but again, Polian's job is not to cater to what fans believe is right.
-In 1998 many Colts fans were clamoring for Ryan Leaf (Polian chose a guy named Peyton)
-In 2001 fans believed the Colt should address their Defense with the 30th pick (Polian chose Reggie Wayne)
-In 2002 fans believed Dwight Freeney to be a late 1st Rd. prospect at best (Polian chose him at number 11)
-In 2003 fans felt the Colts had much bigger needs to address than TE (Polian chose Dallas Clark)
-In 2004 Colts fans were disappointed they had traded down out of the 1st Rd. (Polian took future Defensive MVP Bob Sanders)
-In 2006 Colts fans were disappointed they had missed out on Lawrence Maroney (Polian chose Joseph Addai)
On top of these unbridled successes in the early rounds, Polian has found late round gems in players most fans hadn't even heard of prior to them landing on the Colts roster. (Robert Mathis 5th Rd '03/Antoine Bethea 6th Rd. '06/Ryan Diem 4th Rd. '04/Clint Session 4th Rd. '07/Mike Hart & Pierre Garcon 6th Rd. '08 to name a few)
If you don't like Polian for personal reasons, that is a you problem. If a Colts fan removes emotion from the equation and doesn't allow themselves to get their feelings hurt, it's impossible to feel that Polian hasn't done a great job putting our team in a position to succeed.
From my perspective, it certainly seems many of the articles written and posted here are done so with an agenda of bashing Bill Polian. Frankly, that's a futile effort as nobody here has any say in the hiring or firing of Colts top executives, and again, nor should we. It does however effectively sway the many fans who don't think for themselves, fans who read negative misguided opinions written on blogs such as these and adopt them as their own, rather than examining facts and doing research of their own.
I for one am sick of reading articles on how Jerry Hughes was nonproductive in his first NFL season. How about an article on how Polian found a starting LB in Pat Angerer in the 2nd Rd.? Or how he found a physical LB with a bright future in the 7th Rd. in Kavell Conner? Ditto for DT Ricardo Matthews. Or how Polian found 4 undrafted players who would end up starting for the Colts in the WC Game against the Jets? (Devan, Saturday, White, Linkenbach)
I believe if more articles were written here with this type of positive perspective towards our own franchise leaders, Polian and the team in general would be viewed in a much more positive light. The bottom line is that we as fans we are supporters of the organization and not decision makers for it. Bill Polian is the man who has been put in charge of the decision making process for the Colts organization. As a man put in this position of great leadership he must limit the number of voices he listens to.
I'm not by any means saying Polian is perfect or that every one of his draft picks or free agency decisions have "hit". I often don't necessarily agree with his decisions. However, whether I agree or not, his NFL Executive track record is unrivaled and there is no one I would rather have running the Colts franchise.