Nate Dunlevy provides his perspective on the tip that Colts owner Jim Irsay will announce the firing of Bill and Chris Polian at a 5:00 PM press conference this afternoon.
At 5 PM Jim Irsay will announce that Bill and Chris Polian are being relieved of their duties.
The news was first reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN and has been independently verified.
Jim Caldwell has not been fired, and his fate will be determined by the new front office.
According to sources, Irsay has been considering the move for weeks. I believe the primary problem to be growing tensions within the Colts front office. The negative environment was too much for Irsay to overlook. One losing season alone would not have been enough to lead to this result were it not for the abrasive behavior of the Polians.
Obviously, a new front office will mean dramatic changes for the Colts going forward. While there is only so much roster turnover that can be done in one offseason, there is a good chance that the Colts will be almost unrecognizable in 2012. This decision does not necessarily decide the fate of Peyton Manning, as ultimately that will be up to Jim Irsay. One has to question why any top-line front office talent would consent to joining the Colts unless given complete control of the roster, however. Refusal to give control over the Manning decision to a new hire will virtually guarantee the Colts a second level talent.
This is a great day for local media, but there is very little chance the next regime will have anywhere near the success of the last one.
This is only the beginning.
It's going to be a long, hard offseason followed by a long 2012 season.
The question is how long the road will be after that.
I fear it could stretch on for years. Andrew Luck had better be everything he is advertised to be. He is going to be the future of the Colts.
I guess I've calmed down a bit since yesterday, but still not thrilled. It's hard not to be suprised that the blame for 2011 seems to have squarely fallen on the shoulders of Bill and Chris Polian. After listening to Irsay's full press release, I will say he has some balls, but he seemed to blame the entire situation on going 2-14. Call me naive, but I'm still in the camp that believes losing Manning with very limited time to prepare is what caused this entire situation. I think maybe such a disappointing season that started with a clear hope to be the first team to play in a superbowl that they hosted, was just too much for Irsay to swallow. As a shrewd businessman who is thinking long term it's easier to understand, but as someone who thinks that the core of this team could be kept, and had enough talent to win more superbowls, it's still very disappointing. There is nothing wrong with selling out to win superbowls when you have enough talent to justify the decision. I believe we did. I really would be suprised if Manning wanted to come back to a team that according to Irsay is rebuilding for long term success. For anyone who has been a Colts fan for several years, this is a sad time. I hope we are rewarded in the future for this heartbreak.
I have to admit, I'm usually quite happy I don't get hangovers, but I really, really wish I did yesterday. I could have done without seeing this news yesterday. Going into work today was almost as hard as going into work after the Super Bowl that I Pretend Did Not Happen.
I was frankly stunned by this move. Full credit to Irsay for doing what he thought he needed to do for the franchise. I like the move but can see the case either way, but firing the Polians is by far the harder of the two options. It would have been much easier for Irsay to have kept the structure in place and find a new head coach.
From my perspective it's a damning indictment that things in the organization really hit rock bottom this year, and that there was very little faith that Chris would be able to take this team into the future. The press conference reinforced that opinion when Chris was not mentioned once.
On the plus side, the off-season is going to be much more interesting than the season this year. And I would like to give my congratulations to Irsay for making the hard decisions that he felt needed to be made. It took some serious sack to fire a 6-time GM of the year, right or wrong. I'm worried that if the Colts aren't immediately a winning team, everyone will jump on Irsay for making the wrong decision. Remember, we were 2-14 this year with the Polian's running everything and had the worst team in the league, so lets give Irsay and the new GM some time to right the ship and lead the Colts back to glory!!
As I was drifting off to sleep last night, I suddenly thought: Oh crap, Polian's going to reunite with Manning and Wayne in Jacksonville and kick our asses for the first five years of the Luck era!
Then I remembered that the Jags already maxed their cap with free agents last year, and was able to go to sleep. Barely.
I am afraid... very afraid.
My intial reaction to this news was that Irsay was allowing outside forces (Local Colts media) to dicate his decisions about the team. (But surely I had to be wrong about this.)
Then I saw Irsay's presser. (Uh, oh.)
Then this morning I read about Peyton's reaction. (Holy crap!)
Finally, I read Kravtiz's story. (Oh my God!!!)
Forgive me for bringing up this analogy and not being able to remember the names, but there is that swarmy character in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy that is poisoning the mind of one of the kings into making terrible decisions. That is what jumped into my mind after reading Kravitz's column this morning.
I have never wanted to be so wrong in my whole life. (Bob "effing" Kravitz influencing Colts strategy.)
But I just don't see how this does not end very badly.
Peyton regardless of his health... gone.
Andrew Luck (with council from the Mannings) not wanting to come to the Colts.
The only Colts fans I think that should be rejoicing this morning are people who want to see the start of the RGIII era in Indy next season.
I'm really excited about the move to dump the Polians. I hope the New colts construct themselves like a normal football team. Everybody out side of Indy thought the Colts were one man team. They were right. I'm excited about the future. The Polians would have still been with Colts without Peyton's Injury and would have still won only eight games. The Colts can get Luck for relatively cheap price. Thank God we don't have to pay him Sam Bradford money.
@Peyton for President Re: the "shrewd businessman", how much of this do you think was motivated by the dollars and cents of next year's ticket sales? Is Irsay calculatedly trading a loss in FO quality for a short term financial boost? (Polians as scapegoats for 2-14?)
Especially if Nate's right about Irsay retaining the ultimate say about Manning and the #1 pick, maybe the immediate roster effect is similar enough with or without Polian that Irsay's "intuition" said "it's time" to calm the fan base and keep butts in the seats?
@flores_salicis losing the super bowl was one of the worst feelings in my whole life (besides family deaths). It took me a solid week to get the ship righted
@flores_salicis Top 5 in the Saddest Days to be a Colts fan list. I was in a stupor all of yesterday, and today feels like there´s a huge, black, ominous cloud bearing down on us.
@rogcohen I'm not sure blaming Bill and Chris for 2-14 is being very objective. Who actually though the Colts were going to do anything whithout Peyton? I wasn't suprised by this season at all. Apparently Jim Irsay was.
@rogcohen If one bad year was all it took to fire Polian, why should a new GM get more time? That doesn't make sense.
@pierrezombie In Los Angeles or Anchorage, you mean?
@DougEngland Or to use a different LoTR comparison, if Irsay starts going invisible during press conferences, I think we'll have our answer. My Precious!
Seriously, the flaw in the "Polian lost his touch, but I trust Irsay to do the right thing" worldview is that owners can lose their fastball, too. Plus, he's a freaking billionaire, so he's ripe to go Al Davis on us at virtually any moment, with or without the ring of power as an excuse.
I think it comes down to who Irsay brings in as GM. That, more than anything, will dictate how this franchise moves on for the next few years @DougEngland
@timmysykesuglyjewdick Your comment is unwelcome. Want to rejoice? That´s your choice. But your hateful language is shameful for me as a Colts fan (Polian´s tenure means the greatest run in the free-agency era, hello!).
@gizzardfanny What a Happy New Year, eh?
I still can´t believe it.
@silentkman Why would you want a normal football team? Didn't you like a team that won?
Have you noticed that the Packers, Saints, and Patriots are all following the exact same blue print?
Only sane strategy in today's NFL is to build completely around the QB
Not sure I understood all of that. Only interested in one part, though. Are you saying Colts only win 8 games with Manning? @silentkman
@Peyton for President@rogcohen That´s what worries me the most. In this context, with the history of the franchise, you absolutely have to come out and flat-out say at least 3 times during the press conference: "this has nothing to do whatsoever with our record this year. We fully understand that the loss of our starting QB was the turning point of the season." Oh, Irsay certainly tried to convey this message, but not strongly enough in my opinion. He hasn´t dispelled the impression that the mainstream complaint about the 2012 Colts was accurate (lack of talent because of front office screw-ups), and so it makes him caving to media pressure look credible.
?? Your comment makes no sense. I'm assuming you were trying to make a point, but running a 12 win team to a 2 win team is different than running a 2 win team to a 2 win team. No matter how bad we do next year, it's still not going to be the drop-off we had to this year. Furthermore, didn't Polian only win 3 games his first year as GM? Were you calling for his head then?? And I'm not sure the record is the deciding factor in this Decision. Remember, Polian was beginning to retire and his son was taking over, and people don't seem to think Chris is all that good, so it wasn't even so much a firing of Bill as it was of Chris.
Oh yeah, I forgot! Stupid dream state reptilian hind brain. To quote Mr. Dunlevy, "Frick."
So Jax goes west; AFC realignment; Chiefs come to the south. How much cap space does Kansas have again?
@danorocks17@DougEngland I´m hanging by a thread here. If this offseason ends up with both the Polians and Manning gone, it will sting unbearably. I could live with Luck as our next QB if Peyton wasn´t healthy (barely), but blowing it all up just because media propaganda achieved the poisonous effectiveness of Grima? I would never recover.
While I mostly agree, three of the top teams in the NFL (Pittsburgh, Baltimore and San Fran) are built around defense, not a QB, and the Colts got knocked out of the playoffs last year by a defensive team. Just playing devils advocate as I agree, a good QB is paramount in today's NFL, but I do think the lack of aggressive D was a big downfall for the Colts over the last few years.
Have you noticed that the three teams you mention have capable back ups? they also can force turnovers. The Saints were 6th in rushing. When was the last time the Colts were that high. The Colts may have the worst roster in the NFL sans the O-line. I'm willing to wait 2-3 years for the team to be built correctly. in hindsight, this was the best year for the Colts to Stink with the new CBA and Oliver Luck. This reminds me of how the Spurs got Tim Duncan. This team in its current format was not bulit for post season success.
yes, the Colts would have won eight games(+-1) with a healthy manning this year. I'm trying to figure who the new GM might be.
Sorry, just noticed this. Still 10pm for now. Really the only way to keep all 3 of us involved. I believe, if you go to the www.coltsauthority.com home page, you can see the podcast player on the right of the page? It'll have our 5 latest shows, and hopefully our live show on Wednesdays (though we'll be posted a thread here, anyhow).
In the ancient Coltzilla era, it was 10pm EST on Wednesdays. Not sure if the CA version will be the same -- Spaz?
Sadly, that's far too late for me to be (at least this) coherent, but a ton of fun to follow along in the comment thread if you can stay up for it.
@GregC p.s. Pancakes this week could be a 12-hour marathon live event and I'd probably still listen to the whole damn thing.
@GregC Clicking "Like" on this just ain't right. Can we get a third button for "This comment is brilliant, but makes me want to kill myself"?
Yeah, that's probably not a good example of much, after all. He had a million things to be angry about by that point in the season, and the leak about Manning throwing, if it was a leak, was likely the direct cause that day.
I guess I didn't pay much attention to Polian's comments when they were winning; perhaps he was no more zany and loose with the truth this year than any other. Or -- to read the tea leaves from the opposite direction -- perhaps it was just that kind of consistency on his part that drove in the wedge with Irsay in the first place. It's all idle speculation on my part... You were probably right above; there were reasons and we won't ever know them unless someone involved gets a book deal.
@pierrezombie Thanks for the link. I read it, and yes, it seems it´s more about breaking the rules than anything else, but who knows? Remember in August, when we said it was the craziest offseason ever? Nothing will top May 2011-to-May 2012 as far as crazy years are concerned, I´m thinking.
Oh, and he was reportedly angry about the suggestion that they'd broken league rules letting Manning throw after practice; not some dispute with Polian. I originally had this in mind as an example of him seeming increasingly weird this season, not of anything specific in terms of internal strife.
This isn't *quite* it, but it's close:
I thought he did a follow-up the next day that described Polian's demeanor as angry, but maybe it was Phil B or another Star writer.
@pierrezombie Thanks. I really would like to know (one day as soon as possible) at what point and why those decisions were made.
@ Goeland @Peyton for President
So more like a "I'm the commander of this ship!" scenario? Polian exerting too much control across the organization, and/or Irsay wanting to reassert himself?
If one were to track back through the increasingly weird public comments throughout the season from both of them, that might map out pretty well to a growing internal friction. (Given a willingness to read between the lines and indulge in some tinfoil helmet business, of course.)
There was that Irsay tweet in Sept or Oct about 'lots of change in next 18 months for the franchise' or something -- remember that? Why 18 months, I wonder? Six to wait out a turd of a season and hire a new GM, then year for him to get his plan going?
Or more recently, that weird impromptu press announcement by Polian, who even the saner beat reporters like Kuharsky described as "angry"? Was Polian really "shocked", or had he seen this coming for a while?
@pierrezombie@Peyton for President Nate talks about growing internal problems. I think there must have been some of that, because I can´t imagine football results are behind the moves. I don´t think this has anything to do with a preexisting rift about Painter, Collins, or anyone else like that. The Manning contract is a (faint, I think) possibilty. Bottom line, he has his reasons, if you ask me, and he won´t share them. I doubt Bill opens his mouth either.
@ Goeland @Peyton for President
Yep. Makes me think he had an existing split with Polian that the losing stretched beyond repair. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if Polian suddenly becomes very friendly with certain members of the media, and tells some interesting stories of woe to fill in the gaps.
Regarding Irsay's motives, do you think he blame Polian for the details of Manning's contract extension? Or for going with Collins? Maybe Irsay wanted Hasslebeck, or couldn't get Polian to cut Painter, or... I dunno.
That's the problem, for me, with him citing "intuition" as his rationale for making the change. He either has his reasons and is keeping them private, or he really is a gambler. Both make me nervous about the future of the team.
@rogcohen See, I'm not the one calling for anyone's head, you are. One bad year for Polian, after a decade of succes. Again, why should a new GM get more time, if one bad year is enough to fire Polian?
@pierrezombie For what it´s worth, I can´t envision Peyton playing somewhere else than Indy the next year. And him working with Scott Pioli and Jack del Rio´s shadow would be too strange for words.
Goeland. I just saw on the NFP that two of the three teams projects to have the most cap space next year are... Wait for it... Jax/LA and Kansas. Frick.
@pierrezombie You mean Cassel is not their QB of the future? But he´s proof the Patriots are way better than the Colts! That the Polians didn´t know how to do their jobs (sob)! And what about Kyle Orton? I haz a sad now on his behalf.
@silentkman Actually, one of the most remarkable things about Manning is that despite his lack of rushing ability, his incredible footwork and pocket awareness mean he has oustanding mobility. He doesn´t need an excellent OL to avoid sacks. It helps, sure, especially as far as ANYA is concerned, but it´s far from the most important part of the team when you have Peyton Freaking Manning.
Freeney easy to gameplan against? Tell that to all the DCs in the league who talk about how he´s a nightmare. Tell that to Belichick for instance, who went out of his (grumbling) way to praise him before this year´s game, shutting up lousy reporters in the process.
I was stunned that Frenney only had 19 tackles this year and Jared Allen had 66. It would be intersting to see how many pressures he had. i think the Colts scheme is a bad one. I don't think the offense game plan revoles around freeney. I think he is pretty easy to scheme against. He constantly overruns plays. The bottom line is the team was to depenedent on one player. All good things must to an end. Are we happy with one super bowl from the greatest regular season quarterback of all time?
I still believe that OL is a great need because they are so hard to find. A quarterback like Peyton with limited mobilty needs OL if he the franchise and he is. I would to have a shut down corner. The corner play this was horrible at best. I'm excited about the New Colts.
@rogcohen The Steelers stopped being built around defense a long time ago. They still have a very good one, but it's not what it once was, and they're very much a passing and scoring team now.
@rogcohen But it´s never as straightforward as we externally make it look. For one thing, the quality of the defense is much more variable from year to year, so building the identity of a team upon this foundation is inherently riskier. Greg Cowan did a piece a few monts ago on Coltzilla about how rebuilding teams, and I was struck by how few managed to turn their fortunes around durably depending on their D. And look at Baltimore. They too have only 1 SB, and it was a long, long time ago according to NFL standards. They have missed the playoffs in that span. How can their model be described as just a better model than the Colts one? They don´t fall apart if Flacco doesn´t play, true, but Flacco has often been the reason they fall apart when he plays.
I too have certainly been frustrated at times by the defensive collapses of the Colts during the playoffs, and hated the fact it seemed to hamper Manning´s legacy. But I still wouldn´t call for a total retooling of the team designed to get us a dominant monstrous defense, because given the monetary restrictions, that would necessarily mean dismantling the current offensive philosophy. And there would be no guarantees that we would win more Superbowls, given the unpredictable nature of the playoffs. Betting on the offense might not be the only way, but current trends back up the notion it´s probably the best way right now.
@silentkman OL is absolutely not that important. It might even be among the least relevant positions. Nate has written a few posts about that (in the archives of 18to88). And it all depends on the scheme anyway. With our scheme, CBs are fungible, while safeties are the lynchpin of the defense. Compare that to the Jets defense. In a 3-4 like San Diego, outside linebackers are huge, while they aren´t in a Tampa-2. Overall, though, DEs and pass rushers would certainly be 2nd as far as I´m concerned. Which is why your assessment of Freeney misses the mark by a mile. The entire offensive gameplan of the opposing team revolves around him. He can have 0 tackles during a game, but him getting 3 QBs pressures means a lot more, and it actually means he certainly disrupted the other team´s offense on something like 40% of plays.
The defense has been horrible. Freeney averages 1 tackle every other game. I would be fine if the Colts went in a defensive direction. I just a full commitment in all three phases of the game. In todays NFL a superstar QB is priority because of the rules. The running backs are not as important as they once were.
most important positions in todays NFL.
I'll be curious to get other views on this.
@silentkman Yes, because a team has never won more games one year than the year before, or something like that. Oh wait!
@silentkman Uhm... no offense, but I say Five Pointer.
The Colts were only 10-6 last year and 12-4 is not reasonable. They would probably split division games. The would have beaton only Cleveland, Carolina and maybe Kansas City. In my view Peyton is slipping. In todays NFL there is a new breed of QB. I want the Colts to do well, but it's time for a change.
@ Goeland @silentkman Yeah. 8-8 will be these "New Colts" I keep hearing about. At best.
@silentkman How do you figure? What games would the Colts have lost with Peyton? I can imagine losing against Houston the first game (maybe), New Orleans (maybe), and at worst Atlanta and New England, even though I firmly believe they would have won those contests (those are the only games in which the opponent scored more than 30 points). In the other 10 games: average points for the opponent 24.3 PPG, average points for the Colts 15.2 PPG. Do you really think Peyton wouldn´t have meant one more TD+ 1FG per game? And that´s without discussing his effect on ToP, and thus the effect on the defense and how many points wouldn´t have been scored by the opponent. That´s a 12-4 record. I could see 11-5 or 13-3, but 8-8? Not in 3 million years.
@silentkman Please let us know when you figure it out. With insights like those above, it's sure to be a revelation.