Bill Polian ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 15: Hall of Fame General Manager Bill Polian walks onto the field before the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at New Era Field on September 15, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Michael Adamucci/Getty Images)

This week at the NFL Combine, Bill Polian is digging a hole for himself he’ll never be able to climb out of. Then again, he started digging this hole way back in 2015.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer Polian was the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts from 1997-2009 and team president from 1998-2011. During that time, Polian drafted Peyton Manning with the first pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.

Two years after taking Manning, Polian’s Colts weren’t looking for a QB in the 2000 NFL Draft when Tom Brady was considered a low level prospect by some and a high level prospect by Polian.

According to For The Win, back in 2015, Polian mentioned his Brady debacle for the first time when the Hall of Famer was asked what QB he would’ve gone after in subsequent years if either he didn’t draft Manning in 1998 or if Manning didn’t pan out.

“Well, Roethlisberger later on [in 2004]—we were really high on him. Aaron Rodgers the year after. That’s the only name that comes to mind right away. And I don’t think there was a guy in between, but Tom Brady would have been a guy, and we were very high on him. Our guys really loved him, but we weren’t in the quarterback market, obviously. Those would be the guys I remember us giving solid, first-round, can-lead-you-to-a-championship grades,” Polian said. 

This week at the 2017 Combine, Polian said once again he and his team were high on Brady before he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

So this begs the question: if Polian and company were so high on Brady, why didn’t they draft him before New England? While Peyton Manning was great only two years into the league, it wasn’t guaranteed he would continue to be great or wouldn’t get injured.

Polian’s response? The Colts didn’t need a backup. But then again, if Polian thought Brady was a first-round prospect and the Colts’ backup that next year was a 39-year-old, why wasn’t Brady worth a fifth round pick? Polian doesn’t really have an answer to that because all he is doing is digging that big hole.

Imagine if the Colts had taken Brady, he proved his worth in the preseason or in some late game blowouts during the regular season, and then suddenly became the best trade chip in the NFL? Maybe Indy would’ve made a couple big trades and won a couple more playoff games instead of ultimately losing to Brady and the Patriots seemingly on a yearly basis in the postseason.

Then again, it’s easy to say “what if” in situations like this. Just keeping digging, Polian! Just keep on diggin’!

[For The Win]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.

1 thought on “Bill Polian claims he had a first round grade on Tom Brady, still didn’t bother drafting him

  1. I have always said Bill Polian, Mike Ditka and Charley Casserly are three old white men who are closet racists and liars.
    One thing I know is Polian is a liar if he claims he had Brady as a first round grade after his 1999 Michigan season and 2000 NFL Draft.
    Back then I lived in Indy and all he talked about was Peyton Manning and he was interested in getting Manning offensive weapons just to cut down on his high INTs he was throwing.
    I vividly remember when Brady beat Indy for the first win of Brady’s career, the entire Colts organization were saying how they were surprised he made the NFL after being a 6th round pick.
    Go back and look at the story from the Indy Star after that 44-13 win in 2001.

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