During their game this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Indianapolis Colts will induct one of their franchise’s all-time greats in the the Ring of Honor: former President/Vice-Chairman/General Manager Bill Polian, who’s already a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Polian was the architect of the Colts teams that restored the franchise to greatness and went on one of the most incredible runs in NFL history. Under Polian’s watch, the Colts recorded a 143-81 record (.638), won eight division titles, made the playoffs eleven times in 14 years, won 10+ games eleven times, won two AFC championships, and won Super Bowl XLI. Polian was twice named the Executive of the Year while with the Colts (in 1999 and 2009) and won the award six times in his career. During the 2000s, the Colts won more regular season games in a single decade than any team in any previous decade in NFL history. The Colts were among the best and most consistent teams in the league for almost the entirety of Polian’s tenure, and a lot of that can be traced to him.
He was the one who brought in guys like Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Gary Brackett, Mike Vanderjagt, Adam Vinatieri, and others. Hired in 1998, Polian was tasked with rebuilding a Colts franchise that had struggled for a long while. His first move was the most important, as he got his franchise quarterback in Peyton Manning. From there, Polian went on to build around Manning and put a number of successful pieces in place.
It’s taken a while for him to wind up in the team’s Ring of Honor, but that’s not because there was any question about how deserving he is. There’s few more deserving of the honor than Bill Polian, who built the Colts into a contender and champion. He’s already been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and this Sunday he’ll become the 13th person inducted into the Colts’ Ring of Honor, joining Robert Irsay, Bill Brooks, Ted Marchibroda, Chris Hinton, Jim Harbaugh, Colts Nation (formerly known as the 12th Man), Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, and Jeff Saturday. Others, like Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, will be coming, but Polian’s name deserves a spot in the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium along with the others.