The Indianapolis Colts have been hoping to return to the Super Bowl for more than a decade. Andrew Luck, although an excellent quarterback in his own right, sadly faced too many injuries and couldn’t quite get the Colts back to a title. Indianapolis might have an answer in longtime Atlanta Falcon-and now Indianapolis Colt-Matt Ryan. […]
Hall of Fame Executive, Super Bowl Champion
Bill Polian is a former NFL executive and a six-time Executive of the Year (1988, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999, and 2009). Polian won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts, and was inducted into the Indianapolis Ring of Honor in 2017. Polian’s illustrious career as an executive earned him an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Polian began his career in professional football as a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1978. In 1982, he joined the USFL, and later moved to the CFL, where he built Grey Cup–winning teams in Montreal and Winnipeg.
Polian returned to the NFL as the General Manager for the Buffalo Bills from 1986-1992. He built a team in Buffalo that went to four straight Super Bowls—the most consecutive appearances by any team in NFL history.
He then took on the challenge of building an expansion team as the General Manager of the Carolina Panthers from 1995-1997. He remarkably put together a team that went to the NFC Championship game in just its second season of existence.
In 1998, Polian was hired as the President and General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts. One of his earliest decisions was whether to draft Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf with the first overall draft pick in 1998. He wisely chose Manning, and later hired one of the all-time great coaches in Tony Dungy. Polian’s Colts had seven straight 12-win seasons and eight division titles during his tenure. The Colts beat the Chicago Bears and lost to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowls while Polian was running the organization.
Polian also served on several key NFL committees, including the group that oversees rules changes. Since his retirement, Polian worked as an NFL analyst for ESPN and currently is with SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Polian grew up in the New York City borough of the Bronx. He attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy before he graduated from NYU in 1964.
Polian and his wife have four children and nine grandchildren.
I led the process in the hiring of five head coaches, including Marv Levy, Dom Capers, Jim Mora, Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell. The common thread among those five is leadership and teaching. Head coaching in professional football at its core is about those two things. Every great coach is a phenomenal teacher. Recently, I […]