Topic: Bill Polian

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Bill Polian is the Vice Chairman of the Indianapolis Colts NFL team. He rose to league prominence as the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills, building a team that participated in four straight Super Bowls, losing each time. Following his stint in Buffalo, Polian went on to become the General Manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers, where his initial success in building what was arguably the most rapidly successful expansion team in NFL history led to his moving on to the Colts. He has won the NFL's Executive of the Year award 6 times (1988, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2009).

Prior to Polian's tenure in Buffalo, he began his career in professional football with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Blitz of the United States Football League, before moving to the Canadian Football League, where he assembled Grey Cup winning teams with the Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Early on in his career, he was a coach for the now defunct football team at the Trinity School in New York City.

Polian was General Manager in Buffalo from 1986-1993. When Bill Polian was promoted to general manager of the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 30, 1985, the Bills were suffering from back to back 2-14 seasons and fan interest was at an all-time low. Polian had been with the Bills since August 2, 1984. He was originally hired as director of pro personnel, where he impressed Bills owner Ralph Wilson by telling then-coach Kay Stephenson, "We were 2-14 on merit--we have the worst personnel in the NFL." On February 7, 1985, Bills general manager Terry Bledsoe suffered a heart attack and Polian was named along with director of scouting Norm Pollom to handle contract negotiations in Bledsoe's absence. Polian was instrumental in the signing of Bruce Smith to his first NFL contract. This impressed the Bills' hierarchy enough to warrant a promotion to GM, after the firing of Bledsoe, in 1985. The fans were not impressed with the promotion of Polian however. Most observers considered the move business as usual, on a 2-14 team.

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