Indianopolis Colts Sack Father & Son Bill & Chris Polian from Vice Director and GM Roles

January 3, 2012

Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay has fired team vice chairman Bill Polian and his son, Chris, the Colts’ general manager on Monday as the team looks to bounce back from a horrific season.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a year in the NFL where a team went 2-14 and there’s not been changes,” defensive captain Gary Brackett said Monday, less than 24 hours after a season-ending loss at Jacksonville.

The elder Polian had constructed Super Bowl teams in Buffalo and Indy, and an NFC title contender at Carolina.

But troubling signs emerged this season as the Colts lost time and time again — 13 straight at one point — with franchise qurterback Peyton Manning sidelined to recover from Sept. 8 neck surgery. And it was Manning who suggested he and Bill Polian were not on the same page.

“Just less than two years ago [we were] getting ready to play in the Super Bowl and go to Miami,” Irsay said in a news conference to announce the firings. “Less than two years ago, cleaning off the confetti from the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. It’s been a very sharp decline.

“Even last year when we were getting ready to play our playoff game at 10-6 and division champs, if someone had said in this room, ‘You’re going to be having the No. 1 pick in the draft, and you’re going to lose 13 games in a row and be 2-14,’ no one could have possibly believed it.”

But without four-time most valuable player Peyton Manning, the Colts were a shell of the team that had so much success with the Polians running the front office. In 14 seasons with Bill Polian running the club, first as general manager and eventually as vice chairman, the Colts went 141-67 with 11 seasons of 10 or more victories. They made it to the playoffs 11 times during his tenure, twice advancing to the Super Bowl and winning the Lombardi Trophy in February 2007 with a victory over Chicago.

Chris Polian had various personnel duties with the team before being promoted to general manager in 2009 and ultimately to team president.

Irsay called the choice to fire the Polians “an intuitive decision” and said, “It was time.”

He said, however, that he will continue to evaluate Caldwell and indicated the coach might remain for a fourth season.