Colts' Continuity and Consistency Produced New Opunity, Chris Polian Says
INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Polian says he wouldn't be here without help. And for that, he said, he was thankful.
Polian, who on Friday was named the Colts' Vice President and General Manager, said Friday afternoon that without the Colts' consistent success in recent seasons – without the Colts' players and coaches –what happened a day after Thanksgiving Day likely doesn't happen.
"The system is in place," said Polian, who was promoted from Vice President of Football Operations by Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay. "A large part of it is a credit due to our players and coaches and the work they've done. The success we've had has I'm sure driven Mr. Irsay's desire for continuity. Our core values, our core beliefs – those things don't change. Those things will remain the core.
"Adjusting to trends in the league, adjusting to how people play us, adjusting the team on an annual basis – that will always change with the landscape around you.
"Your anchor, your core beliefs, those won't change at all."
Polian, the son of Colts President Bill Polian, has been with the Colts since 1998, serving the past five seasons as Vice President of Football Operations.
"Chris has been involved in every aspect of our football operations for the past 12 years," Irsay said. "His direct contributions are part of the reasons why the Colts have been among the league's top teams for an extended period of time.
"Chris is a very talented individual who has worked his way through the ranks, and we are pleased to have him serve in this position. Historically, the Colts have been an organization to promote internally, and I feel this will allow the club the best opportunity to continue competing at the level we have sustained for the past few seasons."
Polian, 38, served as the Colts' Director of Pro Scouting from 1998-2000, then spent 2001-2003 as the Assistant Director of Football Operations. He was Assistant General Manager/Football Operations in 2004 before being promoted to Vice President of Football Operations.
The elder Polian has been a five-time Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year, and has directed teams to four Super Bowls, including the Colts' Super Bowl XLI championship following the 2006 NFL season.
The lessons learned from his father? Innumerable, Chris Polian said.
"It's really difficult to point to one thing," Chris Polian said. "The biggest thing, both professionally and personally, is try to be honest, try to be square with people and treat people as you would like to be treated, for the most part, and run an honest operation.
"If those things take place you hopefully have a chance for luck to enter in on your side."
Polian cited not only Bill Polian, but former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, current Head Coach Jim Caldwell and longtime Buffalo Bills Head Coach Marv Levy as influences.
"Part of the reason I've wanted to get into it is because of the people I've been able to be exposed to," Polian said. "[Former Baltimore Colts, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens Head Coach] Ted Marchibroda, I grew up with him being his ball boy in training camp.
"I've had lessons from everybody, and hopefully, I can apply those correctly as time moves on."
Polian, along with Bill Polian and Dom Anile, has been integral in developing and implementing a system of evaluating draft prospects that Chris Polian said Anile brought to Carolina when the Polians and Anile first began the Panthers as a 1995 NFL expansion franchise.
"It helps tremendously, because I've got both perspectives on it – kind of what you would expect the end product to be from a management perspective and having to make the decisions, as well as putting reports in and doing the scouting legwork," Polian said. "I have that balance of view, and it also has been a collaborative process, the development of that system over our time here.
"We know why the changes have been made, what changes have been made and we can tweak and adjust the system as needed to adjust to any trends league-wide or maybe some decisions we make in terms of how we want to build our roster."
Polian, who signed a long-term contract, will oversee the day-to-day operations in all football-related areas of the franchise, the team announced, adding that working alongside with his father . . . he will be tasked with keeping Indianapolis among the most successful NFL teams.
"Prior to this occurring, I've had some conversations with Jim where there weren't any promises," Chris Polian said, "but Jim said, 'I like how things are progressing, and continuity's important to me and loyalty's important to me.' As you kind of go through the process of people being interested and that type of thing, you survey different situations.
"We've been in a very fortunate position here, and it's one that we didn't take for granted. We certainly don't take the success we've had for granted. It's just a very fortunate place to be in when you get all the support you get from ownership and the fans as you do here."