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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
RTC: Colts fire Polians edition

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Niceness isn’t a quality that goes at the top of most NFL coaching or executive résumés. At times, it’s looked on as a bad quality.

But boil down why Bill Polian is out of work and Jim Caldwell isn’t, yet, and the fact that one was perceived as a tyrant and the other is often described as honorable is certainly a factor.

The perception is Caldwell maintained the respect of the locker room through a miserable 2-14 season and Polian did not. At any rate, Caldwell could join Polian as a former Colt soon enough, but there is a big message in the way Jim Irsay has gone about this.

Another important note here: As Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star points out, Irsay did not mention Chris Polian once in his Monday news conference.

Onward, we’re reading the coverage of the “Polians fired” story.

Kravitz: “In the end, wins and losses and draft grades didn't do in Bill Polian. Bill Polian did in Bill Polian. He just became too difficult, too divisive, too dismissive of anybody and everybody who didn't share his NFL world-view. Too often, he became a sideshow and an embarrassment, whether it was screaming at Jay Mohr on the radio or railing about 'rats who spread lies.'

“This franchise needed new eyes. It needed a new direction, a new culture, a new everything. These are weird and exciting times for the Indianapolis Colts and this city, fraught with promise and uncertainty.”

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com: “... (As) great as he was building winners he was equally skilled at constructing walls within his own organization. He ran his teams with an iron hand and was an unrepentant bully both to people who worked for him and the press. When you look up the phrase scorched Earth in the dictionary there's a picture of Polian with a lit match and can of kerosene.

“That was, I'm told, partially the reason for Polian's dismissal, to change the culture of the Colts. Most importantly, however, Polian had lost the fast ball that made him so formidable. He failed to get a backup for Manning and the Colts had lost their depth. He allowed his son, Chris, to run the team when Chris never proved he deserved that kind of power."

Don Banks of SI.com: “More than anything, Irsay seems to have decided the time was right for change in Indianapolis, and he wanted to use this season's new depths to chart a new course. The Polian era was wildly successful, but Irsay probably didn't like the chances of re-scaling those same heights under the man who had been atop the team's front office flow-chart since 1998.

“So now, Indianapolis heads in a new direction, with new leadership. Manning, for now, remains. But the impact of his neck injury continues to reverberate, and with it, Black Monday in the NFL has again proven its ability to shock and surprise us.”

K.C. Joyner of ESPN.com : "Even with the fortuitous bounce that is getting the No. 1 pick in an NFL draft with a once-in-a-generation quarterback prospect (Andrew Luck), the general consensus is that the Colts are in such bad shape personnel-wise that it could take years for the franchise to get back into playoff contention.

“The truth of the matter is that some of the Colts' personnel woes are overstated and the team is actually not that far away from returning to playoff-contender status.”

Nate Dunlevy of ColtsAuthority.com: “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.”