Earlier this week, we posted a story about how there has a very distinct power shift within the since the 2010 season ended. Bill Polian, longtime president and the unquestioned authority behind the Colts front office, is no longer in charge. His son Chris is.
We knew this based on some choice words from Colts owner Jim Irsay:
"Bill is going to give his input, and he and I 'pow-wow' on the highest level of issues, but really it's Chris' time to move forward and make his mark. He's very good at what he does, and he's prepared -- someone who always wants to get a lot of feedback from Bill and me. It's not as if he's some Lone Ranger trying to get out there and do it. Bill and I know it's his time to implement his vision. And that's a good thing."
To me, it was clear the 2010 NFL Draft was Chris Polian's baby, not Bill's. Bill himself said Chris did all the planning and prep for the draft, and if that was the case it only makes sense that the guy who makes the final decision on the picks be Chris.
Well, after the draft, Chris has continued to implement his 'vision' for the franchise by chucking longtime Colts personnel man Clyde Powers out the door. The Indy Star reported yesterday, via Twitter, that Powers retired after 31 years with the Colts. Turns out that report was not completely correct.
Powers didn't retire. He was canned... likely by Chris Polian.
From Mike Chappell:
"I'm not retiring. I was fired," Powers said Wednesday. "Chris Polian is the new vice president and general manager, and he should be entitled to have the people around him he feels comfortable with."
Powers, 59, served the past 16 years as the team's director of pro player personnel. He spent 31 years with the Colts in all, as an assistant coach, a college scout and player personnel director.
Now, this direct quote from Powers is interesting given what Jim Irsay told reporters on Wednesday [emphasis mine]:
“Clyde’s probably going to retire; we’ll see,” Colts owner Jim Irsay told the Indianapolis Star, adding that video director Marty Heckscher will retire after three decades with the organization. “He might want to do some work for the league office. He’s got a place out in South Carolina. He and I talked, and Chris Polian talked with him.
“He’s a close friend of mine and we’ve been together a very long time. We’re having some changes that are a little bit tough.”
Looks like Clyde wasn't given the option to retire after talking to Chris. Notice how Irsay makes no mention of Bill Polian being involved in this decision?
Also sent packing was J.W. Jordan, a salary cap analyst. It is believed video director Marty Heckscher did indeed retire, as previously reported, but one cannot be sure given the shake-up at West 56th Street.
Obviously, the Colts are trying to smile and put a happy face on all this:
Irsay disputed the notion there has been a lot of sudden movement among senior employees.
"I don't think it's all of a sudden," he said. "It's the nature of things when you have people around for 30 years or more. The time comes. For Clyde and for Marty, it's just time."
Now, for Powers, he's being given a nice little severance package and he claims he harbors no bitterness. I personally don't buy the 'no bitterness' part, especially given that Irsay wanted to have it publicly known Powers was retiring while Powers wanted it publicly known he was canned. By making it clear he was fired, Powers is telling everyone is isn't happy about his recent shift to the ranks of the unemployed. He's also making it known that if another team wants to hire him, he's available.
Powers has been working in the NFL for 37 years, which is about as long as Chris Polian has been alive.
For Irsay to claim that all these moves aren't 'sudden' is obviously laughable to the point of insulting. I love Jim Irsay, but don't treat me, or or the rest of us, for a fool. Take a look at what the Colts have done internally since Jim Caldwell called his silly timeout in the playoff loss to the Jets in January:
- Legendary runningbacks coach, Gene Huey, fired after 18 years of service
- The duties of the wide receivers coach (Ron Turner) and the QB coach (Frank Reich) are switched
- The team's legendary offensive coordinator, Tom Moore, 'retires'
- The director of player personnel fired after 31 years of service
- The video director 'retires' after 31 years of service
- A nine year team analyst on the salary cap is fired
When all those things are done over a three-and-a-half month period, that is sudden change, especially for this franchise which hardly ever changes anything. These changes show me that Chris Polian is flexing his muscles. He's the big boy in charge now. There's nothing wrong with that. But, don't sell me on the notion these changes aren't sudden and, in many ways, unexpected.
Remember, Gene Huey was shocked he was canned.
Knowing this, it will be interesting to see how Chris deals with Jim Caldwell in 2011. Caldwell was hired by Bill Polian, the handpicked successor to Tony Dungy. Let's all be honest with ourselves and admit that Caldwell really has not displayed a high degree of effectiveness when it comes to coaching. He isn't 'terrible,' but he isn't great, or even good for that matter.
Should we get a new CBA soon, and should the Colts lose early in the playoffs (or not make them at all), I personally don't see Caldwell surviving. Not with coaches like Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, and Jeff Fisher sitting out there.
Welcome to the future, Colts fans.