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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Is Bill Polian overrated?

    Bill Polian is one of the most respected men in the NFL and rightfully so. He has over thirty-one years of NFL experience as a general manager, and commentator. He is a voice that many teams go to when it comes to hiring coaches, general managers, the draft and free agents. He appears to be the type of guy that if you will spend the day with him, you will definately be smarter afterward. When he speaks about football he speaks with authority and rightfully so. Being a man who is old enough to be my father I truly respect Bill Polian as a man and football mind. He is definitely an ambassador for the NFL. However no man is above scrutiny and having there record examined.

    Last year Bill Polian mentioned how Bill Belichick's Patriots were not as good as people think. He has also been very vocal on Terrell Owens not getting in the Hall Of fame because he was divisive.Well it's only fair that we look at Bill Polianís record as a general manager and compare him to some of his other colleagues. The label ĎGreatí is sometimes attached to Bill Polian but is that deserved?

    First lets address Polians argument against Terrell Owens. Bill Polian's argument is, and continues to be ďWhat team has Owens made better?í Despite the fact that Terrell Owens is second in receiving yards with 15,934 second only to Jerry Rice. Third in career touchdowns with 153 behind Randy Moss and Jerry Rice of course. That is incredible production, and those numbers alone should have not just had him in the hall of fame, but had him in first ballot.

    So what team has Owens made better? How about the forty-niners. In 1998, Owens had over 1,000 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns and helped get the niners to a 12-4 record and that was with the great Jerry Rice on the team. Surely the numbers he put up help to make that team better. You may say but that was with Steve Young. Ok, well let's look further.

    Owens continued to put up monster numbers even with Jeff Garcia as quarterback and Dennis Erickson as head coach. He had 1451 yards and 13 tds in 2000. He continued to produce over 1100 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns with the niners from 1998-2003. Surely his production helped make that team better.

    Then he went to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004. Prior to Owens arrival The Eagles could not get over the hump and get to the superbowl. They lost in the playoffs, four consecutive years. They lost in the divisional round in 2000 and the conference round three consecutive years until guess who arrived? Yes Terrell Owens.In his very first year with the Eagles in 2004 he put up 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns and was a force on that Eagles team. It's no coincidence that the despite four ealy exists from the playoffs prior to Owens arrival, the Eagles finally got over the hump and made it to the superbowl with Owens on the team. That was directly attributed to Terrell Owens. He went on to put up a valiant performance in that game while not fully recovered from a broken leg. He almost single handedly willed that team to victory against the the great Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Losing by three points, while McNabb was vomiting in the huddle. Clearly he made that team better Mr. Polian.

    Owens went on to play for the Cowboys and helped that team to become better. His personality may have rubbed some the wrong way but his production on the field cleary helped that team win games.So from a production standpoint it is unintelligent, impossible and outright wrong to say that Owens did not make teams better. You can't say Owens was on many losing teams, and even if he was on losing teams and had the same production he would still be qualified for the hall of fame. If wins and losses were the determining factor then LeRoy Selmon, and Dick Butkus would not be in the Hall of fame as they were both on losing teams for most of their careers. If wins and losses are the barometer then when can rightfully ask what teams did those two make better? If a person was to say that about Dick Butkus or Selmon, people would look at them as if they were insane. Their individual production on the field put them in the Hall of fame. That's it!

    So why does Bill Polian keep asking what teams has Owens made better? The same reason he asked that questions, is the same reason Bill Polian has only won one super bowl in his twenty years as a general manager. It's strictly Owens personality. Polian personally doesn't like Owens. That is a horrible reason to say why someone should not be in the hall of fame. I get it Owens rubbed some people the wrong way but so did Deion Sanders, Bret Favre, Randy Moss and a plethora of players that played in the NFL.

    Why do I say its this same faulty reasoning that Polian has about Owens it the same same reasoning that caused him to only win one super bowl in twenty years as general manager? Bill Polian likes clean cut, decent players. He will rarely take a risk on a talented player with a challenging personality. In order to win in this league sometimes you have to. Even Bill Belichick took a chances on players like Legarrette Blount and Randy Moss. Bill Polian would not even consider taking chances on players like that.

    We admire coaches who can make in game, and halftime adjustments. General managers have to make adjustments also. Mid-season adjustments to the roster especially if injuries occur. They also have to have a pulse on the league, examine the competition and adjust their roster accordingly. They have to put their team in the best position possible to win a superbowl. Bill Polian repeatedly failed to do so as general manager of the Buffalo Bills.

    Since Polian gives his opinion on others, let's look at his record as general manager of the Buffalo Bills. He became the general manager of the Buffalo Bills in 1986. He did put together one of the best teams in the league. He hired Marv Levy and signed hall of fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Those teams won a lot of games. However Polianís first trip to the superbowl against the Giants was a heartbreaker. You can make the argument that that Bills team was a better team than that Giants team. That Giants team had dogs on it. They had players with challenging personalities like Lawrence Taylor. While clearly less talented than the Bills they definitely were more physical. After that first lost to the New York Giants. Polian did not take an objective look at his team and make adjustments to make that Buffalo Bills team more physical to beat one of the NFC east powerhouses that dominated the league at that time. No he returned to the superbowl with basically that same nice high flying finesse Buffalo Bills team and got destroyed by The Washington Redskins. Like the Giants, they had mean, nasty physical players. The result?They got beat even worse by that Redskins team 37-24. Surely this was a clear sign that Bills needed to become more physical and add some nasty players to win the Lombardi right? No.

    The next year they got lambasted by a young ultra talented Dallas Cowboys team led and constructed by the the great Jimmy Johnson. They lost that game 52-17. The reality is the game wasn't even that close. That Cowboys team had almost the same structure as that Buffalo Bills team. Both had hall of fame quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. What was the difference? The Cowboys had dogs! Players with challenging personalities that Bill Polian wouldn't even consider signing or drafting. Both Irvin and Reed were great. Reed a little reserved and Michael Irvin was a dog! Definitely had a challenging personality. Both Thurman Thomas and Emmit Smith were great backs but Emmit was a warrior. Playing with a broken arm while Thurman Thomas begged off to get out of the super bowl after he fumbled. Then Jimmy Johnson had Charles Haley, a player with a challenging personality and now hall of famer,Leon Lett and others on that team. That team was more physical and dominant than Bill Polianís Buffalo Bills team .After that third straight humiliating drubbing Bill Polian was fired by the Indianapolis Colts after the 1992 season.

    Some may say, well those other teams were good. Of course they were, but great general managers donít build good teams. They build great ones that win super bowls. They make adjustments to beat those good teams. For example. Carmon Policy lost two straight NFC championships to that same Dallas Cowboys team that destroyed the Bills. Carmon Policy took an objective look at his team and realized his team did not have the same talent or physicality of those Cowboys teams. He made off-season adjustments. He signed Gary Plummer, Ken Norton Jr.(from the Cowboys) and the prize of free agency Deion Sanders who certainly had a challenging personality at that time and rubbed people the wrong way. Carmon Policy had his pulse on the league and the teams he had to beat to bring back the Lombardi which is the ultimate goal for any great general manager. The results? He beat the Cowboys and won the won the superbowl. Mission accomplished!

    Let's go with a recent example. The Denver Broncos under John Elway. With Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos produced one of the most proficient offenses the league had ever seen. While explosive on offense it was not the most physical team. They went to the superbowl and got destroyed by a more physical Seattle Seahawks team. They lost the super bowl 43-8. Elway didn't sit back and think to himself that his team just played a bad game. He obviously knew his team was not good enough to beat that Seattle Seahawks team. What did he do? Having a clear pulse on the league he made off-season adjustments. He got rid of Eric Decker and signed Emmanuel Sanders. He signed Demarcus Ware and Talib Qualib who definitely has a challenging personality. As general manager Elway transformed that Broncos team to an AFC version of the Seahawks and two years later he accomplished his goal of winning the superbowl. That is what great general managers do. Bill Polian has never done that in his twenty years as a general manager.

    Polian took over the Panthers for three years and did turn that new franchise into a playoff team,but like Buffalo he failed to win a superbowl. I'm not going to spend much time on his record here because it was only three years. But you get the picture Letís go to the Colts.

    Bill Polian took over the Colts in 2000. In the mold of Marv Levy he hired Jim Mora sr. as his head coach, a very questionable move. He had the first overall pick and luckily the Great Peyton Manning was coming out that year. He also drafted Edgerrin James and put together an explosive offense with Indianapolis. They lost in the playoffs twice under Mora. Mora was fired after the 2001 season and Tony Dungy was hired. This was not Bill Polian's choice for head coach. Dungy was forced on Polian by Jim Irsay.

    Bill Polian Colts,despite having one of the best quarterbacks of all time lost in the playoffs four years in a row. Not coincidentally this Colts team was built similar to his Buffalo Bills team with Jim Kelly. He lost to the Jets, Patriots twice and the Steelers. All teams that were more physical than the Colts.Finally after twenty long years a Polian team won the superbowl by beating the Chicago Bears led by Rex Grossman. Bill Polian's Colts went to the superbowl again in 2009 and lost.. again. This time to the New Orlean Saints led by Drew Brees. Again Bill Polian was fired, this time by the Cots after the 2011 season in which the Colts went 2-14. This was the year Peyton Manning was hurt and it showed how much he was carrying this team and how little talent this Cots team had.

    So what can we conclude from this? We have to give Bill Polian credit for changing the culture of the Bills, Panthers, and the Colts. However if you want to win a superbowl Bill Polian would not be your first choice. He was essentially a general manager for twenty-five years. From 1996-2011. While he his teams have impressive regular season wins and playoff appearances. His super bowl record is a measly 1-4. He didn't get his first super bowl ring until twenty years as a general manager with the Colts with a coach he did not want in Tony Dungy. Think about that just one super bowl victory despite having two of the best quarterbacks of all time in Jim kelly and Peyton Manning.

    Let's put this in perspective. Just like we compare players to other player( like Owens to other wide receivers) let's compare Bill Polianís record to some of the truly great general managers.
    Jimmy Johnson took over the Cowboys it only took him four years not to just win a superbowl but two back to back super bowls. Of course beating Bill Polianís constructed Bills. That Cowboys team was so well constructed that even when Jimmy Johnson left Barry Switzer was able to win a superbowl with it.

    The great Ron Wolf. it only took him four years to win a superbowl after taking control of the Packers. It took Ozzie Newsome five years to get one, and seventeen to get two. Dick Vermeil, only took him three years after taking control of the Rams and he had a long layoff from coaching. The great Bill Belichick whos team Polian critiqued last year. It only took him two years to get his first lombardi after taking control of the Patriots. Now he has five lombardi's in his case. So in eighteen years as the Patriots coach and gm Belichick is 5-2 in super bowls. In eighteen years as a general manager Polian did not have one. John Schneider and John Elway it took them only four years to get a Lombardi.

    Data shows it takes an average of five years for a new general manager to win a superbowl(see my other blog on this). Of all the great general managers that have been in the NFL it took Bill Polian by far the longest to get just one.

    When it comes to general managers and talent evaluators we can easily make the argument that Bill Polian is not even in the top five of modern day general managers when it comes to constructing teams that win superbowls. Some may get emotional and think this is blasphemy but numbers don't lie. These are the facts. We will not even evaluate the all time great general managers in the history of the league. Just look at some recent and current general managers and you tell me who you are taking Bill Polian over? Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Carmon Policy and Ozzie Newsome are all better than Polian. In fact when it comes to winning super bowls Polian has by far the worse.

    As for Terrell Owens? Like him or not, no one can say he is not a top five wide receiver of all time. You may not like him but the numbers don't lie. You can easily make the case that Bill Polian is not a top five general manager of his day not less all time. So if Bill Polian is in the Hall of Fame there is no way Terrell Owens should be kept out.

    So based on facts and numbers is Bill Polian overrated? We have to say yes. Especially if we are comparing him to his contemporaries like we do players. He is a great football mind. An excellent general manager. But great? He has not earned that title.
    Last edited by Playaraider; 01-07-2018 at 03:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    He is overrated. Look at the defenses he built around Peyton during his Colts years.

    He built a finesse defense to rush the QB, with the idea that Peyton and the Colts would score a lot of points and then let the pass rushers finish the games. It backfired in the playoffs when the Colts were in close games and couldn't just blow every team out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    When he couldnít beat the patriots he had to cry to the rules committee to change the rules.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Houston, TX
    Totally overrated.
    A couple years ago this putz claimed he had a first-round grade on Tom Brady prior to the 2000 draft. He (and only he) had that first-round grade for a guy who would end up being taken in the supplemental 6th round.
    Pick #199 but the "genius" Bill Polian knew how he'd turn out; that's why he passed on him 6 or 7 times.
    Complete and thorough BS.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    I mean how is he rated? I'm inclined to say that a GM who builds three separate contenders, wins a Super Bowl, makes six in total, gets an expansion team to the conference title game in its second year in existence and almost never had losing seasons is probably an HoF executive. Is he perfect, or the best GM of all time? No. But he consistently built great teams for two decades and had more success than almost any other GM in football. Unless someone is saying that he's better than like Tex Schramm, Jimmy Johnson or Belichick, I'm inclined to think he's properly rated.

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