Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay has made it official: Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian have been relieved of their duties, effective immediately.
Irsay held a press conference Monday afternoon to announce the decision, which Irsay himself described as 'intuitive':
We’re moving in a different direction in regards to Bill and Chris Polian. It was a very tough decision for me. This is the tough part of this business. There is always a great loyalty in this business. It was time, it was the right decision to make. Fourteen years is a long time in this league. It’s an intuitive decision. A lot goes into it. This was a tough decision, and I made the decision this morning.
Irsay was very complimentary of the job Bill has done over the years:
I expressed to Bill the appreciation this franchise has for what he did. Bill is a Hall of Fame General Manager, certainly a Ring of Honor individual.
Irsay said the hunt for a new general manager will begin immediately, but that the process would be different than in 1997, when he fired Bill Tobin and replaced him with Bill Polian in a matter of hours.
It’s a new era. We’re moving into exciting times by my estimation. The search for GM begins immediately. We have not talked to any teams or potential GMs yet. This is not like ’97 where we replaced the GM in matter of hours. It will be a matter of time, possibly a couple of weeks.
He also said there will be no further changes to the staff for now, including Head Coach Jim Caldwell. Though, Irsay made it clear that Caldwell's fate could be decided before a new G.M. is hired.
Coach Caldwell is still under evaluation. Jim Caldwell could very well be back next year. That’s not out of the realm of possibilities. GM will be here when decision is made on coaching staff most likely.
Irsay also noted how the Colts had a rapid decline from just two years ago, when they were playing the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. It's also worth noting that Irsay said virtually nothing about Chris Polian, the outgoing general manager and son of Bill Polian.
Irsay did say that, during his meeting with Bill Polian today, there were 'tears' and hugs' exchanged. Irsay has known Polian for thirty years.
Irsay also mentioned that the thoughts and opinions of fans certainly made their way to him, via Twitter and blogs (yes, he actually said the word 'blogs'), but that, in the end, he alone had to make this decision.