Wednesday, February 29, 2012
On Bill Polian as part of the media
By Paul Kuharsky
The pool of NFL analysts is super deep.
It’s stacked with former players and coaches, but tends to be thin when it comes to GMs who’ve been decision-makers.
ESPN’s added one of those to its stable, announcing today that former Colts executive Bill Polian has joined the network. He will debut March 12 on "SportsCenter" and "NFL32."
The architect of the Colts who won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2006 season now joins the coach of that team as a television personality. Since he retired from the league, Tony Dungy has been a quality piece of NBC’s "Football Night in America." Polian can be the same for ESPN.
In my dealings with him since starting in this job in 2008, he was accommodating and helpful. Fifteen minutes with him could qualify as blog fodder gold. Take him the right big picture or personnel questions and he would regularly deliver home-run information and perspective.
He also qualified as a tough interview and could be intimidating. You couldn’t get away with a bad question or he’d call you on it and make you uncomfortable. He'd do the same if he didn't care for a topic that might have been just fine. There were reporters and analysts he simply did not like, and it’s always a bit awkward to me when a person from the league who fought with an element of the press moves on to joins the press.
But here’s what’s important: Polian can lend great perspective on league and personnel issues. I especially look forward to seeing him break down tape and tell us why a player is suited for a job or not and why a guy made a play or didn’t.
I saw Polian briefly in Indianapolis at the scouting combine. (He didn’t hint this was coming.) He said he was about to relocate from Indy to North Carolina, where some of his family settled when he worked for the Panthers.
He’ll now earn frequent flier points shuttling from Charlotte to Hartford, Conn. He may make watching football more enjoyable for a lot of us by doing so.