In news bigger than just the release of Jim Caldwell, Colts owner Jim Irsay has taken the more drastic step of firing everyone, including Bill Polian and Chris Polian, per Chris Mortensen.
Bill Polian has had a great career in the NFL, first as the general manager in Buffalo in helping build the teams that went to four straight Super Bowls, then to Carolina where he immediately put together a team that went to the NFC Championship Game in its second season, before coming to Indianapolis. He had put together some great teams around Peyton Manning’s singular talents, teams that could play from in front by pressuring the passer relentlessly while holding a lead, and teams that were willing to concede runs and avoid big plays.
His son, Chris, had recently taken the title of General Manager, though the senior Polian was still heavily involved. Drafting had declined recently from the Halcyon days of Manning, James, Wayne, Freeney, Mathis, Sanders, and Clark. Since 2005, the best first round pick was Joseph Addai back in 2006, and names like Tony Ugoh, Anthony Gonzalez, Donald Brown, and Jerry Hughes have not contributed. The result is what happened this year with an aging core, and the loss of the player holding it together, Peyton Manning.
There is no word yet on Jim Caldwell, though he is as good as gone. I’m sure the position will be similar to how Kansas City handled Herm Edwards a few years ago–let the new GM decide and make the call. I can’t imagine any GM who is hired wanting Caldwell.
The more interesting unknown is how this affects the Peyton Manning scenario and the upcoming draft with the first pick. It’s an attractive position to be in, but the new GM will get to make the call. Irsay has an attachment to Manning, but the new GM will get to make that call. Whoever it is will have to make it fairly quickly.
I’m kind of stunned by this. The product on the field was not good this year–it was terrible. Polian was not popular in the media, but I thought he had built up enough good will over the last decade to survive this season and get to make the call on the draft. I guess Irsay decided he wanted someone else to usher in a new era, and we’ll see if that era will have Peyton Manning in someone else’s uniform next September.
[photo via Getty]