On August 8, former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as one of the greatest football executives of all-time. His best draft pick in Indianapolis, Peyton Manning, will be in attendance, while other players such as Reggie Wayne and Dwight Freeney have expressed a desire to attend if their schedule would allow.
Polian's boss for his 14 seasons in Indianapolis will also be in Canton that weekend as Polian is inducted, which owner Jim Irsay confirmed to the Indianapolis Star in a terrific piece on Polian's career. Despite the fact that Irsay fired Polian after the disastrous 2011 season and it appeared as if there were bitterness between the two of them, Irsay calls Polian a "dear friend" still.
Polian's impact on the Colts can't be understated. He took the Colts from a team that was consistently among the league's worst to a team that was consistently among the league's best, compiling a 167-41 record in 14 seasons. During that span, the Colts made the playoffs eleven times, won eight division titles, won two AFC Championships, and won Super Bowl XLI. The team notched the most wins in a single decade of any team in NFL history, winning 115 games in the 2000s. His contributions to the Colts are worthy of recognition - though the team has yet to put Polian in their Ring of Honor, likely due to the way the sides parted but a move that is surely coming at some point. For his part, Irsay has a lot of gratitude toward Polian.
"His Colts stay alone was enough to get him in," Irsay told the Star. "For our franchise, it will be a huge, huge day. It's very rare you get an executive in the Hall of Fame, ever."
Polian will be just the fourth person associated with the Indianapolis Colts to go into the Hall of Fame, and one of the others only spent one year with the franchise. The other two spent a considerable amount of time with the team but made a name for themselves elsewhere. Polian absolutely did as well, during his time with the Bills, but he's as remembered for his accomplishments in Indy as he is for his accomplishments in Buffalo - perhaps the first person associated with the Indianapolis Colts in the Hall of Fame we can say that about. There will be others, including Peyton Manning, but for now, it certainly is a huge moment for the franchise.
"Unquestionably one of the greatest talent evaluators the NFL has ever seen," Irsay said of Polian. "Bill is like that old guy at the racetrack with all those crumpled up pieces of paper that just knows how to pick ‘em. He just has that knack."
His 14-year run in Indianapolis will be remembered for a long time, and the franchise gets the opportunity to celebrate Bill Polian and everything he accomplished when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame next weekend. Jim Irsay will be on hand, as will Peyton Manning, to honor their friend with whom they achieved so much success.