Former Buffalo Bills General Manager Bill Polian is a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Polian and fellow former NFL GM Ron Wolf learned Wednesday that they’re the first two nominees for a new contributor category that the Hall created last August. Each would need 80 percent of the vote from the selection committee that will gather on Jan. 31 in Arizona to pick the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
Polian, an NFL analyst for ESPN and SiriusXM NFL Radio, was the chief architect of the Bills’ teams that won four consecutive AFC championships from 1990-93.
He also built the Indianapolis Colts clubs, led by Peyton Manning (whom Polian made the top overall pick of the 1998 draft) that reached two Super Bowls and won one. In addition, Polian made the expansion Carolina Panthers a contender in only their second season of existence. He is the only six-time NFL Executive of Year, as voted by his peers.
A humble Polian was quick to point out that he “never gave” being inducted into the Hall a thought.
“Executives don’t do anything,” he said. “It’s the players and coaches who do it. You put the team together and develop the plan, but players and coaches are the ones that have to execute it.”
Polian received the news of his nomination in a phone call from Hall of Fame President and Executive Director David Baker while in Western New York to promote his recently released book, “The Game Plan.”
“After telling me that I had been selected as a finalist, he said, ‘Do you have any quotes?’ ” Polian recalled. “I think I stammered repeatedly and said, ‘I’m speechless, I’m speechless. I never envisioned this.’ And then I said, ‘For a media guy, I guess I should have some quotes that are reasonably intelligent, but I don’t. I’m speechless.’ ”
During a 32-year NFL career, Polian filled various roles with four teams – the Kansas City Chiefs (scout, 1978-1982), Buffalo (director of pro personnel/GM, 1984-1992), Carolina (GM, 1995-97), and Indianapolis (president, 1998-2011). In 1993 and ’94, he worked for the NFL office, where he oversaw the disciplining of players for on-field infractions and also became heavily involved in labor issues. In addition, Polian was a prominent member of the NFL’s Competition Committee.
“Ron is obviously very, very deserving and I’m honored to be in his company,” Polian said. “But I guess I won’t believe it unless and until it comes in January.”