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Bill Polian is in his 13th season as President of the Indianapolis Colts.  Polian oversees all football and administrative aspects of the Colts.  His football blueprint has established a period of achievement that ranks among the best accomplished in the NFL’s 90 seasons.
Bill Polian is in his 13th season as President of the Indianapolis Colts.  Polian oversees all football and administrative aspects of the Colts.  His football blueprint has established a period of achievement that ranks among the best accomplished in the NFL’s 90 seasons.

Since Polian’s 1998 arrival, no team has had more playoff appearances than the Colts.  The Colts are the only team to make the playoffs 10 times in the last 11 seasons, reaching the divisional, conference or league title round in six of the past seven years and to the Super Bowl twice since 2006.  The club leads the NFL with eight consecutive playoff appearances and is the only team with 10+ victories and playoff berths annually since the 2002 Realignment.  Since 1999, the club has a 128-48 (.727) mark, the NFL’s winningest regular-season team by eight games over its nearest competitor.

The Colts have won seven division titles (1999, 2003-07, 09) during Polian’s tenure.  The Colts (four times) join Chicago, San Francisco and New England (twice) as the only franchises with 50+ regular-season victories in a four-year span.  From 2000-09, the Colts (115-45) set the NFL mark for most wins in a decade.  The club’s nine playoff berths tied the NFL record of Dallas in the 1970s.  The club also earned 23 consecutive regular-season victories during 2008-09, a new NFL record.

The 2009 Colts owned a 14-2 record and became the only team with 12+ victories in seven consecutive seasons.  Indianapolis has a league-best 11+ victories in seven consecutive seasons, while eight straight seasons with 10+ wins is the second-longest NFL streak.  Indianapolis is the only team to win seven or more consecutive regular-season games in six straight seasons and became just the third team to open a season with 14 victories.  Indianapolis won the AFC Championship, 30-17 over the New York Jets.

In 2006, the Colts captured a fourth World Championship with a 29-17 victory over Chicago in Super Bowl XLI.  It was the club’s first title appearance in 36 years.  That same character, resilience and commitment propelled the club to Super Bowl XLIV against New Orleans, capping one of the NFL’s top decades of accomplishment by any franchise.      

In 2002, Polian oversaw the hiring of Tony Dungy.  Together they forged seven consecutive playoff teams, and Dungy became the winningest Colts head coach.  Polian led the hiring of Jim Caldwell in 2009.  Caldwell became the first NFL coach to win his first 14 games, and he was the fifth rookie head coach to reach the Super Bowl.

Polian and pro football success are synonymous.  In 22 seasons as a general manager or president with Indianapolis, Carolina and Buffalo, his teams have made 16 playoff, eight championship game and five Super Bowl appearances, while winning a World Championship.  Polian’s Buffalo teams made the Super Bowl three times and returned again the year after his departure.  He built Carolina into the winningest expansion franchise in sports history, reaching the NFC Championship game in year two.  He helped build Grey Cup title teams with two CFL franchises (Montreal and Winnipeg).

Polian’s teams have earned a combined regular-season record of 228-139.  Discounting the start-up seasons of 1985-86 at Buffalo, 1995 at Carolina and 1998 in Indianapolis, his mark is 212-91, a .700 winning percentage.  Polian has been part of 13 11+-victory seasons and has won a division crown at every stop.  From 2003-09, his teams had 81 victories in 100 regular-season games, tying the highest 100-game NFL victory total.

Polian’s record is unique among NFL administrators.  In a 2009 vote of his peers, Polian became the first six-time winner of the Executive of the Year award from The Sporting News.  Polian eclipsed a tie with the late George Young.  Polian, Young and the late Jim Finks are the only multiple recipients of the award.

A keen judge of talent, Polian’s expertise has transformed the Colts.  His draft classes have yielded QB-Peyton Manning, RBs-Edgerrin James and Joseph Addai, WRs-Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, DEs-Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, DBs-Bob Sanders, Antoine Bethea, Marlin Jackson, Kelvin Hayden and Jerraud Powers, OTs-Ryan Diem and Tony Ugoh, OGs-Jake Scott, Mike Pollak, Jamey Richard and TE-Dallas Clark, among others.  Polian found key free agents in C-Jeff Saturday, K-Mike Vanderjagt, RB-Dominic Rhodes, LB-Gary Brackett and DBs-Melvin Bullitt and Jacob Lacey.  Indianapolis ended the 2009 season with 48 of 53 active-roster players having game action only for the Colts.  Manning, James, Addai, Clark, WR-Marvin Harrison, Wayne, Freeney, Mathis, Vanderjagt, OT-Tarik Glenn, Saturday, LB-Cato June, Bethea and Sanders reached the Pro Bowl during Polian’s tenure.

Polian was a pro scout for Kansas City in 1978.  He worked five years there before moving to Winnipeg as personnel director.  He helped build a team that won two CFL titles.  He served as personnel director with Chicago of the USFL in 1984.  Polian joined Buffalo in 1984 as pro personnel director and was promoted to general manager on December 30, 1985.  The Bills reached Super Bowls XXV, XXVI and XXVII during Polian’s tenure, then added a fourth Super Bowl in 1993.  Polian presented former Buffalo Head Coach Marv Levy at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 2001.

Polian served as Vice President of Football Development for the NFL in 1993.  He helped formulate and implement the NFL’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Long active in NFL affairs, Polian serves as a member of the Competition Committee, Diversity Committee, Management Council Senior Executive Committee and is Chairman of the College Relations Committee.

Polian and his wife, Eileen, are parents of four children, Lynn, Chris, Brian and Dennis.  They have six grandchildren.