This Sunday, against the Jacksonville Jaguars and their almost completely inept offense, the Colts had their best chance of getting a win since last December of 2010. The Jaguars defense is more difficult to handle than most realize, but at home, this was the Colt’s best chance, and they blew it.
Now, the once-proud Colts organization is facing the very real possibility of making the wrong kind of history. With their easiest games coming against the Panthers and a re-match with the Jaguars, the Colts are set to get Andrew Luck, but at a price of a season that will taint the career of every player, coach, and executive that was involved with the 2011 Colts.
It would be easy to blame Caldwell, but this goes further up the ladder. No one but Bill and Chris Polian are to blame for this debacle.
As outlined in an excellent article by Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star, the Polians have done just about everything possible to deflect blame from themselves while pushing Chris Polian up the executive ladder for no other reason than because he is Bill’s son. Here is an excerpt from Kravitz’s article that outlines the extreme internal issues in Indy:
I’ve spoken to several former Colts people in recent weeks, and while none of them will go on the record — many have non-disclosure agreements and fear public comment will hurt their NFL job prospects — virtually all of them told me Chris Polian has been a toxic force who has brought this franchise to its knees for reasons other than Peyton Manning’s injury.
Kravitz then lists about a dozen coaches and scouts that have helped bring this franchise to prominence that have been let go as scapegoats for poor drafting. Many of these scouts were the only men who would tell Bill Polian things that he needed to hear, not when he wanted to hear. Every organization needs people like that, not just football teams.
Longtime offensive coordinator Tom Moore, now a consultant with the Jets, was forced out without decoration for his invaluable contributions. After the 2009 Super Bowl loss, Bill blamed the offensive line, which resulted in legendary line coach Howard Mudd retiring.
You want to blame Jim Caldwell for this season’s ineptitude? That is certainly fair, but keep in mind that Caldwell is just a “Yes-man” that fills a required position on a football team, and plays that role perfectly to give the Polians as much control over the team as possible.. Even though hes has not won a single game this season and his team has looked like a high school team at times, Bill Polian has gone on record saying that Caldwell is doing even better as a coach this season than during the Super Bowl run in 2009.
Meanwhile, as the Colts draft worse every year, Chris Polian’s role increases every season. How badly have the Colts drafted? Since 2007, the best players the Colts have drafted are Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. They have also gotten themselves two solid linebackers, Pat Angerer and Clint Session. Session is now a Jaguar. Other than those players, everyone else is either a backup, a punter, or no longer on the NFL’s worst team.
Not only are the Colts deflecting blame for their failures that Peyton Manning has hid for so long, but Bill is going out of his way to show how great of a job his son is supposedly doing. From Kravitz’s article:
As Chris’ star rose in recent years, others in the organization bristled at what they viewed as clear nepotism. Bill would stroke his son in staff meetings, remind everybody what a huge impact he made. Meanwhile, scouts and others saw Chris getting raises and promotions without doing what they perceived to be the necessary legwork.
If you’re a Colts fan, this is frightening. Dissension at the top of the totem pole is a recipe for disaster. “Luckily” for the Colts, help might be just around the corner, and maybe the young phenom can hide the Polian’s shortcomings for another ten years.