Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If Bills have to blow things up again, they should ask Bill Polian to come to their rescue

                I had the opportunity to chat with Bill Polian last week for a column I was writing about him for Bills Digest, and during our conversation I asked the architect of those great Bills teams of the late 1980s, early ’90s if he would consider becoming an NFL general manager again. He said he would if the situation were right.

                “I know how to win in the National Football League,’’ said Polian, a six-time NFL Executive of the Year who was inducted onto the Ralph Wilson Stadium Wall of Fame Sunday. “But it requires the kind of commitment Mr. Wilson made with the Bills and that Jim Irsay made with the Indianapolis Colts. Those situations don’t come along every day.”

                So, you know where I was going with my next question. Would Buffalo’s most famous Bill since Buffalo Bill be interested in leaving his ESPN analyst job and rebuilding the Bills as he did back in the mid-1980s?

                “Look, everybody knows how I feel about Buffalo,’’ Polian said, demonstrating some pretty nifty verbal dance steps. “That’s no secret. I’m a Buffalo guy. I loved my time there. I always love coming back. That’s not an issue. But that’s Mr. Wilson’s call, not mine. It’s very difficult for me to even talk about that. And I think the group that’s in there now is doing a nice job. I can now root for teams, and, so, I’m rooting for the Bills and I hope they do well.”

                I understand his diplomacy completely. During a week when his old employer was honoring the work he did in transforming a franchise that had lost 28 of 32 games before he became GM into perennial Super Bowl participants, the timing was not right to be campaigning for a job.

                So, I’ll do the campaigning for him – as I have done before.

                Unless the Bills make some unbelievable about-face in the second half of the season, there’s a good likelihood that things will have to be blown up again. And, if that’s the case, why not go back to the future? Why not hire the man with the Midas touch who engineered the golden era of Bills and Colts football? A guy whose teams have made 17 playoff trips in his 23 seasons as GM? A guy named Bill Polian?

                In my 28 seasons of covering the NFL, I’ve never seen a better judge of football talent. (Don’t forget, this also is a man who had the Carolina Panthers in the NFC championship game in just their second year of existence.) Polian is closing in on 70, but, as his astute comments on ESPN attest, he remains as sharp as ever, and he actually may have an even better handle on the entire league because he no longer is involved with one team.

                Hey, maybe Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey will surprise us all and turn this thing around. I hope they do. But I really don’t see that happening.

                A bold move will be required. A move that welcomes Bill Polian back to Buffalo.  

               You can read more of my musings about the Bills at WROC-TV's webpage - www.rochesterhomepage.net. Click on sports, then my column icon. Thanks.

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