Colts President Receives Award for Record Sixth Time
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are headed to their second Super Bowl in four years, much in part thanks to the man who, along with Owner and CEO Jim Irsay, helped design the organization from the top down—President Bill Polian.
On Tuesday, in recognition of his remarkable work and the team's success in 2009, Polian was named Sporting News' George Young NFL Executive-of-the-Year for a record sixth time.
Voted upon by a panel of 53 coaches and front office executives, Polian received 24 votes, eight more than the general manager of the team the Colts will face in Super Bowl XLIV, New Orleans' Mickey Loomis.
Polian previously won the award in 1988, 1991, 1995, 1996 and 1999. But the 2009 honor puts him in a class by himself. Since 1972, when the Sporting News began naming an Executive-of-the-Year, only two men have won the award more than twice (Polian and Young, who won it five times), and there have been only four two-time winners: Bobby Beathard, Jim Finks, Scott Pioli and Dan Rooney.
But with the recognition this year, Polian now stands alone as the magazine's only six-time winner.
"To me, this is the most important and prestigious award a person in my position can get," Polian wrote in a wide-ranging column that appears in the new issue of Sporting News magazine. "It's named after George Young, who was not only a friend but an incredible role model and one of the greatest executives of all time. And your peers know what your job entails — to get their vote is special."
Also receiving votes this year were Minnesota's Rick Spielman (5), former Eagles G.M. Tom Heckert (3), Cincinnati's Mike Brown (3), San Diego's A.J. Smith (1) and Green Bay's Ted Thompson (1).
Polian credited much of the team's success this season – which included a 14-0 start in the regular season and now an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV – to first-year Head Coach Jim Caldwell, the fifth rookie coach in history to lead a team to the Super Bowl.
The Colts president named Caldwell the team's coach-in-waiting after the 2007 season. A year later, following Tony Dungy's retirement, the job was his and the Colts never skipped a beat, making one of the most seamless sideline transitions in recent years.
"A few years back, I went to Tony Dungy and said, 'Would you mind appointing Jim Caldwell assistant head coach?' He said, 'I was going to ask you the same thing.' It was obvious to both of us that Jim had expertise, leadership ability, organizational skills and poise," Polian said, according to a press release.
"In spite of his quiet demeanor, Jim has a lot of steel in his personality. I don't know if fans can see that on TV, but I see it every day. He is, in my mind, the coach of the year for certain."