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Bill Polian (born December 8, 1942) is an American football executive. He was the Vice Chairman of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League from 1998 to 2011. He rose to league prominence as the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills, building a team that participated in four straight Super Bowls—the most consecutive appearances by any team—but lost each time. Following his stint in Buffalo, Polian went on to become the General Manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers.

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.[1] Early on in his career, he was a coach for the now defunct football teams at Manhattan College and the Trinity School, both in New York City.

Buffalo BillsEdit

Polian was General Manager in Buffalo from 1986-1993.[2] When Bill Polian was promoted to general manager of the Buffalo Bills on December 30, 1985, the Bills were suffering from back to back 2-14 seasons and fan interest was at an all-time low. Polian was originally hired as director of pro personnel for the Bills on August 2, 1984.[2] Polian was instrumental in the signing of Bruce Smith to his first NFL contract, after which he was promoted to GM in 1985.[3] Polian won the NFL Executive of the Year Award twice in 1988 and in 1991.[4] On February 4, 1993, after the Bills had appeared in, and lost, their 3rd straight Super Bowl, Polian was fired as general manager.

In 2012, Bill Polian became the 28th inductee into the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.

Carolina PanthersEdit

Polian was General Manager of the Panthers from 1994-1997.[5] He tried to create the quickest Super Bowl winner in history, and nearly did so, building a team that went to the NFC Championship game in only its second year of existence. This feat led him to a promotion, becoming not just the GM, but the President of the Indianapolis Colts.

Indianapolis ColtsEdit

In 1997, Polian was hired as President and decided to build through the draft as the Colts would have the number 1 overall pick for 1998; the Colts picked Peyton Manning.

Polian was fired by owner Jim Irsay after the Colts finished with a 2–14 record in the 2011-2012 season.[6]

As of 2012, Polian has been hired by ESPN to be an NFL analyst for the 2012-2013 season.


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