Bill Polian will become the 28th member of the Bills organization to be placed on the team’s Wall of Fame. Polian was the general manager of the Bills from 1986-1993, overseeing the Bills’ best seasons. Polian built a great team in Buffalo based around Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
After leaving Buffalo following their 3rd of 4 straight Super Bowl losses in 1993, Polian was hired to take over the Carolina Panthers. Polian once again found success with the Panthers, building a roster that went to the NFC championship game in just the second year of the team’s existence.
Following his run with the Panthers, Polian was hired to be the Colts’ President and GM. Polian’s first pick as the Colts’ top man was future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Once again, Polian built a great team using a stellar offense and a top notch quarterback. Under Polian, the Colts were able to win a Super Bowl following the 2006 season. The Colts made it to the Super Bowl following the 2009 season as well, but were unable to win it.
I’ve been a vocal critic of Polian, especially in recent years. Under his leadership, with help from his son Chris Polian, the Colts slowly declined. Last year was ultimately their undoing in Indianapolis when the Colts lost Peyton Manning for the entire season. The team simply couldn’t find a way to be competitive most of the season.
Regardless of his potential shortfalls in his later years as the Colts’ GM, Bill Polian has a proven track record of building winning teams that withstand the test of time. It’s astounding that his teams only ever were able to win one Super Bowl, but by the same token, he was able to get his team to the big game 6 times over the course of 27 years.