By Dan Snapp, Patriots Daily Staff
Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian has had a rough week, enduring a good butt-whipping from the Indy press and fanbase alike for the team’s decision last week to not pursue a perfect season. But in light of his recent interview with NFL Network, we’ve concluded Polian isn’t necessarily wrong, just misunderstood. In fact, I think you’ll agree Bill is our kind of guy.
See, while everybody else in the league was out there trying to reach the Super Bowl, Bill was casting his eye toward history:
“16-0 we did not feel was an historic achievement. What was important to us, and what we tried very hard to do on a short week against Jacksonville after we had wrapped up the home-field advantage was to set two records. One, for the most consecutive regular-season games won. We were tied with New England prior to that, and we now hold that record ourselves. And secondly, for the most games won in this decade. And I don’t believe that anybody can catch us now, no matter what happens this week. We felt those were both extremely historical milestones that were worth going out there and risking everything for. Having achieved those two… we felt prudence should dictate what we did from there on in.”
16-0? 16-0 has already been done you dumb hayseeds, Polian was telling Indy’s fanbase (oddly, 19-0 never came up in the interview). But most wins in a decade and a 23-game regular season win streak (and pay no attention to that mid-streak playoff loss to the 8-8 Chargers behind the curtain)? Now, those are records of distinction.
Not a day goes by in which I don’t think back in awe upon the teams that won the most regular season games in the 70s, 80s and 90s, whoever they were. The ’72 Dolphins, on the other hand? I can’t even remember the year they went undefeated.
“At least the ’07 Patriots had the guts to go for it,” argued Tedy Bruschi. “It is historic to go 16-0, because that means you have a chance to go 19-0. You only can go 19-0 if you go 16-0 first and 19-0 trumps every single team record ever.”
But Bruschi misses the genius of a Bill Polian. This a man with an eye for the esoteric: iron man streaks, number of days without an injury on the assembly line, number of Jets assistants roughed up in stadium tunnels, most days in first place. Somebody has to care about these things, and for that we’ve got Bill.
“Take care of the little things,” Joe Paterno famously preached, “And the big things will take care of themselves.” I think Bill Polian lives by this credo. For all we know, he may still be expecting 19-0 to work itself out now that he’s worked out the finer details.
And oh, those finer details! Like the record number of one-and-done playoff appearances by a team with 12 or more wins (3, and could have been 4 had the ’02 10-6 Colts paid more mind to the little things). Or the fewest Super Bowls won by the team with a decade’s most wins (1, a mark likely never to be broken). Or the most head coach/Jesus comparisons in the media (154 and counting). Unfortunately for Tony Dungy, the record one-and-dones robbed him of the more illustrious Most Pro Bowls Coached mark (5) still held by Tom Landry and John Madden.
I think the Pats should work out a little gentleman’s agreement with Mr. Polian for the coming decade. Sort of a win-win proposition: The Colts can again have the most wins in the decade, and as many regular season winning streaks as they please, accommodating Polian’s taste for the trivial; and the Pats get the Super Bowls.
Just like the deal they had this decade.
Great work, Dan. My one thought on Polian: the whole rest-the-starters thing has never worked, so why keep doing it? Why not keep up the pressure and go for 19-0? Because you’re satisfied with breaking a regular-season win streak that by definition ignores a one-and-done playoff appearance?
Happy to ring in 2010 with a little bit of criticism going the Colts’ way and will enjoy it while it lasts.
Have a good one!
I thought ProFootballTalk, of all places, had a valid point: Polian cited the decade wins record and the consecutive regular season wins record as “both extremely historical milestones that were worth going out there and risking everything for. ” But they had already achieved both marks prior to playing the Jaguars, a game they went all out for. So that couldn’t have been the motivation for beating the Jags, unless Polian’s just bad at math.
Just a point of clarification – it’s the more *regular season* wins in a decade. The most number of total wins in the decade goes to….(drum roll, please) The New England Patriots (and the crowd goes wild).
Yep, apparently those pesky playoff / superbowl games count for the W column when you, errr, well, WIN them!
This guy is a contemptible swine, and it looks like, finally, the media is taking him to task. He’s deserved much more criticism for his actions over the past decade than he’s received, because the big, bad ogre in the room, for the media anyway, has always been the grey hoodie’d one in Foxboro.
But Polian is a guy who has “rigged” the rules of the game to benefit his team’s style of play through his influential position on the Competition Committee; he’s a guy who’s physically attacked an employee of another team; he’s a guy who’s openly rooted in the press box for opposing players to get injured (“break his f-ing leg”—regarding Doug Flutie); he’s a guy who deliberately mispronounces the name of his team’s self-anointed biggest rival (Pay-TREE-ots); and he’s a guy who openly lobbies, in public, for the officials to call an upcoming game involving his Colts a certain way (check out some of the things he said, publicly, prior to the 2006 AFC title game against the Pats, after the Ravens had held the Colts’ offense to just five field goals in the divisional playoff the week before).
He’s a complete jerk, a violent, obsessive maniac, and quite frankly, he’s “worse” than Bill Belichick in many, many ways.
It’s good to see the media finally hitting this guy, but they’re way too late to the party IMO.
The 2000s Colts are the NFL equivalent of the 90s Braves. Add that feather to your cap, Polian.