When Jim Irsay fired Bill Polian following the disastrous 2011 season, the two sides didn’t exactly leave on amicable terms. Those hard feelings have softened over the years since then, however, and last year’s Hall of Fame induction was a Colts reunion and celebration as Polian was enshrined.
This year, the Colts are taking it one step further than simply a reunion in Canton by welcoming their former general manager, president, and vice chairman back to induct him into their Ring of Honor in week 17. The hard feelings over how things ended have been replaced by positive memories of the incredible run of success.
“It doesn’t get old hat, trust me,’’ Polian told CBS4’s Mike Chappell on Monday. “This is a tremendous honor. It was such a great ride to be a part of what we did in Indianapolis when you stop and think about it.’’
What was it that the Colts did during that era (from 1998-2011)? Here are a few of the accomplishments: eleven playoff berths, eight division titles, two AFC championships, a Super Bowl win, 115 regular season wins in a decade (most in a single decade in NFL history), a 143-81 (.638) record, and several potential Hall of Famers added (such as Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, and Dwight Freeney in the draft, plus Adam Vinatieri in free agency). That’s quite the impressive resume.
“All the playoffs, Lucas Oil Stadium, the world championship. All of that was incredible and it was an honor to be part of it,” Polian told Chappell. “It’s even a bigger honor to be remembered as part of it. It’s wonderful to be remembered. It’s most important for the family and the kids and grandkids to be part of that and see it and understand what a great time it was.’’
The kids and grandkids should all be able to be in attendance for that game, even Bill’s son Chris (yes, the former Colts’ GM) who works for the Jaguars now. The Jaguars will visit the Colts in week 17, which is likely the reason for the Colts honoring Bill Polian then. The entire family should be able to attend, and they’ll be able to see the former team president honored for everything he did for the Colts. He was right to point out Lucas Oil Stadium as one of their accomplishments, as if it weren’t for Peyton Manning and Bill Polian there would be no new stadium. Polian played a huge role in turning around the Colts franchise and in turning Indianapolis into a football town, and for that he’ll take his rightful place in the Colts Ring of Honor this upcoming season.