PFHOF Profile: Bill Polian

bill-polian-440x248Much like the senior nominees in the Hall of Fame executives have their own committee to evaluate if they belong.

These executives are known as builders and they deserve just as much recognition in the history of the NFL as the players.

As great as a player is on the field and as many numbers as they can put up it all means nothing if they can’t be on a team that can win.

There are plenty of players stuck in the list of great but not good enough all because they couldn’t win the big game.

There are players who if they only had one Super Bowl ring could have made it into the hall of fame but because they are missing that group around them they will never earn a bust.

This is where the builders enter the conversation as they are the people who make an impact off of the field and create championship teams.

They are the people who sit in offices and make deals that can anger fans or bring joy to fans or have everyone scratching their head.

In the end if everything works out they can go down as some of the best team builders in the game and eventually earn their own bust in Canton.

This year two of these builders will enter the hall of fame and both have made their imprint on the NFL.

One of these builders is Bill Polian who took a winding route through the world of football until he made his stamp on the league.

Starting out as a scout, Polian quickly became known for his great evaluation of players and plenty of teams from around the football world took notice.

After spending time with the Kansas City Chiefs Polian ended up north of the border with the Montreal Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

He didn’t stay in the CFL for all that long either time only being a personnel man for a total of two years but in both of those years he took his teams to the Grey Cup and won.

From there he went to the USFL in near the end of the lifetime of the league to try to help the Chicago Blitz but he really became a team changer when he went to Buffalo.

In 1984 the Buffalo Bills entered the year after a 8-8 season and ended their year third in the AFC East.

It was the latest in a fall from grace after they finished first in 1980 and so they brought in Polian to try to bring them back to the top of the division.

In his second year at the head of the team Polian drafted Bruce Smith and Andre Reed and eventually saw Jim Kelly enter the NFL after his stint in the USFL when the league folded.polian-wof

These three players that came into the Bills changed the team forever but they did not move on without struggling.

Polian led a rebuild that saw the Bills fall to last place in the division but when he was done Reed, Smith, Kelly, and first pick in 1988 Thurman Thomas created one of the most dominant teams of the 1990s.

The players that Polian had added won four straight AFC championships from 1990 until 1993.

After his stint in Buffalo Polian left to help a brand new franchise in the Carolina Panthers and had an immediate impact.

In his second year as the GM to the expansion franchise Polian had built a team that went to the Conference finals and remained a contender the next year finishing second in the division.

From that moment on he moved to Indianapolis where he took Peyton Manning in his first year and proceeded to build a team around the quarterback.

The building of the Colts led to multiple appearances in the playoffs and eventually to a Super Bowl win.

That solidified his reputation in the NFL as a team builder after he took three teams from nothing to contenders.

Although the Bills never won a Super Bowl and the Panthers fell back after his time the fact was that Polian was always able to build a contender.

For that ability to put together a team almost from scratch Polian will earn a bust in the Hall of Fame and will go down as one of the best builders of all time.

After all without Polian the Bills may not have been the most dominant AFC team in the 1990s and Manning may never have won a Super Bowl as Polian became an architect of winning teams.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 166 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: