No one carries more water for the Bill Polian-controlled front office than 18to88.com's Nate Dunlevy.
No, seriously. Dunlevy seems more blindly loyal to the Polian family than anyone currently working at West 56th Street, and that includes Bill's own sons who hold top executive spots in the Colts front office.
Now, normally, I wouldn't consider a blog post critical of the Colts front office to be anything major or significant. The Colts are 0-8. Their fall is unprecedented, and everyone is rightly blaming the front office because, well, they are the ones in charge. Unlike everyone else on the planet, Nate Dunlevy has spent much of the 2011 season not writing anything critical of Bill or Chris Polian despite the terrible first half of the season and the piss poor work of the front office. For Nate, the Colts problems are the fault of the coaches, the players, or the dreaded 'media' that Nate seems to have a near paranoid hatred for.
The irony, of course, is that Nate Dunlevy is the media despite his repeated, bizarre attempts to claim he isn't.
However, yesterday Nate decided to change course. I guess seeing the team fall to 0-8, and the way in which they fell, was the last straw. Nate actually wrote an article that was a bit of a shot at the Colts front office.
Finally. Friggin finally!
Oh sure, in this article, Nate's logic is flawed and slanted to suggest that while the Polians have screwed up royally, the 0-8 season isn't their fault. One minute he's finally acknowledging that Jerry Hughes is indeed a 'bust' (after saying as recently as August that such talk was a 'rush to judgment'), and the next he's barking that anyone arguing that the Colts haven't drafted well in recent years 'is not being objective.'
But, for a man who, to this day, refuses to acknowledge that Tony Ugoh was a bust, I call this latest article progress.
Nate doesn't call for Bill Polian's head despite listing some pretty damning things against him. Firing Bill Polian and his sons would, according to Nate, destroy the franchise. He also says anyone demanding the Polians be dismissed is 'incredibly short-sighted or rankly self-involved,' and that if Polian and his sons are indeed terminated at season's end, the people calling for their dismissal now 'will be held accountable.'
For me, that last part is a bit troubling. Almost borders on a threat. Someone hold me, please.
I do find it rather convenient that, after months of fanatically defending Bill Polian and the front office against anyone who criticized them, Nate has decided to change his tune at about the same time his normal traffic feeder (Paul Kuharsky at ESPN) has been pretty openly critical the Polians on some local Indianapolis radio stations. When Paul started yapping about how the Polians should be 'held accountable' for this season, Nate didn't lash out against him as he's been known to do to other Polian critics (like me, for instance). I guess Nate now has to agree with Paul because, if you haven't already guessed, should you disagree with Nate you're labeled 'incredibly short-sighted or rankly self-involved.' Nate's not going to say such things about Paul Kuharsky because Nate gets eyeballs on his site from Paul Kuharsky.
I touched on this in my regime change article a few weeks ago, but one of the reasons I want Bill Polian gone from the Indianapolis Colts front office is the man does more to divide Colts fans these days than unite them. Nate touched on this in his article, but placed the focus on how Polian has treated the media poorly, not acknowledging the fanbase's bitter divide. From Nate's writing, I've always gotten the sense that he thinks fans who want Polian gone aren't really fans, which is to suggest that anyone who disagrees with Nate isn't really a fan. This, above all else, is the reason why I don't get along well with Nate. He exudes an elitism that rubs me the wrong way.
Part of me wants the Polians gone because I am tired of reading fanatics like Nate bashing anyone who has a critical thought or notion against them. I'm tired of telling Nate that it's silly to hold critics of the Polians more accountable than the Polians themselves. I mean, all the supposed critics are doing is pointing out what the front office has done wrong. Attacking them while giving the people doing the 'wrong' a free pass is just shooting the messenger.
If Jim Irsay fired the Polians and Nate wants to hold me personally 'accountable,' fine. Whatever. Even though that line of thinking is completely and totally insane, at least it will give us something new to argue about rather than rehashing the same old crap. For now, I'm just happy that he FINALLY wrote something critical about them. I guess I can't expect him to come completely over to the side of reason on the Polian subject in one big leap. That he's come this far is a fairly sizable Internet miracle.