Lamey: Colts' Bill Polian stood in, took the hits

December 30, 2009
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Let’s start off with this: Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian, according to those that were in the studio Monday, did not, I repeat, did not, leave his weekly radio show early.

And I have zero reason not to believe those accounts. In my dealings with Polian, he’s always been a stand-up guy willing to tackle the difficult questions. You might not like the answers, but you have to admire his willingness to give them.
But there was some confusion regarding this week’s show among a fair number of listeners. How do I know? Well, Colts fans called and emailed me to tell me so.

For those listening to Polian’s radio show Monday on WLHK-FM 97.1 or on the Internet, it sounded like the show ended abruptly after a barrage of hostile fans called in about Sunday’s loss to the N.Y. Jets.

Since I listened to the show, which airs weekly from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., on WLHK, that’s the way it sounded to me too.
But after talking to Emmis Communication Corp. Program Director Kent Sterling yesterday and the show’s host, Bob Lamey, this morning, I have been assured that Polian “in no way shape or form,” stormed off the set or left the show early.

“I was there,” Lamey said. “I’ve been doing the show for something like 10 years, and Bill has never left the set early. On Monday, he stayed until several minutes after the show was over.”

Lamey admitted there might have been some kind of glitch that affected the show’s Internet transmission.
“It was not Bill’s fault,” Lamey said. “If there was a mistake, it was mine.”

Late yesterday, I was told by fans listening to the simulcast on WFNI-AM 1070, that the ending of the show on that station mirrored Lamey’s account.

Polian had anticipated the potential hostility coming his way Monday, Lamey said, and instructed him “not to screen any callers.”

“He knew what the show was going to be like,” Lamey said. “Bill wasn’t dodging anything. He wanted to answer every question.”

Polian’s insistence on trying to answer all the fans’ questions was part of the problem. Sterling explained that the call-in questions and Polian’s answers were so compelling, the show ran without commercial interruption longer than usual.
So as the hour ended, Lamey and the show’s producers realized they had six minutes of backlogged commercials to play in only seven minutes. And since commercials pay the bills, the commercials rolled.
When the show came back for its final 60 seconds, Lamey wrapped up the show, and that was that.
I end where I began. Polian answered the questions that the time allotted by the radio show allowed. No more, no less.

But there’s this. For those who say Polian and Colts owner Jim Irsay don’t care what the fans want or are insensitive to fans’ feelings (about going for a perfect season among other things), I can tell you, the number of phone calls I’ve received from the team’s front office in the last two days (about my previous blog post regarding Polian’s radio show) indicates otherwise.
The Colts’ brass certainly have been sensitive to this most recent fan outcry.
Whether they truly care about what fans’ feel in their hearts or they’re just protecting the franchise’s image and business interests, I can’t say.
But I can say this; I truly believe in the 60 odd hours since Curtis Painter was sent in to pilot the 14-0 Colts like it was a meaningless scrimmage, the fans have been heard.

And at this point, I’m not sure the Colts faithful can ask for anything more.

(P.S. I’m hoping to talk to Jim Irsay later today about his thoughts on this season and the fans’ reaction to Sunday’s game. I’m hoping he’s as eager to talk as Bill Polian was Monday. And if Irsay’s track record is any indication, I think he will be.)


  • Polian and the fans
    Excellent points, Anthony. We all know that the team's management members were all on the same page on this issue. One would like to think that they have gone way too far in their successful careers to have not learned the basic lesson about what winning means to the players and the fans.

    Bottom line - it shouldn't matter what Irsay/Polian/Caldwell/et all think if they didn't even know what the players/fans wanted to see. They were staring perfection in the face and couldn't see it. Sad, truly sad.

    If Caldwell did not listen to his players and communicate their desires to Polian/Irsay, then he needs to take the bus out of town. If he did, then there apparently is no solution, because these guys don't care. If that is the case, then we'll see what happens to the future of this franchise. And from this former fanatical fan's viewpoint, it may not be pretty.

    For Caldwell, when you are staring your enemy in the face and fail to use your best weapons and lose the battle, you are no longer needed as the General. Vaya con dios!
  • Poliaan, Caldwell, etc.
    Tony Dungy would have pulled the same stunt, and did, actually. This is where Caldwell learned that it's okay to lose. I'm sure this will backfire on the Colts.
  • Poliaan, Caldwell, etc.
    Tony Dungy would have pulled the same stunt, and did, actually. This is where Caldwell learned that it's okay to lose. I'm sure this will backfire on the Colts.
  • You play to win the game!
    While I'm all for keeping your star players healthy and protected in the preseason, when it comes to the regular season you need to keep your edge. Watching the Colts throughout the Manning year, you can tell they do this by playing consistently every week. When they have a bye week in the playoffs or play a gimme week at the end of the season, they tend to play a bit softer that first playoff game.

    Also, like the Herman quote, you play to win the game. Win you're undefeated, you don't throw away that opportunity to achieve perfection.
  • Do it elsewhere
    I have often heard Colts coaches, players, and probably Polian too, say that "protecting the home field" advantage is important.

    Does he honestly think we'll yell as loud or care as much (or buy as much team merchandise) next year?

    Yes, to them it's a business. Unfortunately for them, people like me who have written a check every year for 26 years also have made an EMOTIONAL investment in the team. Yes, the last ten years have been mostly good-to-great. There were glimpses of good before that, along with some truly awful stuff. But the Jim Harbaugh Colts never quit because Ted Marchibroda never told them to quit. He told them to "let 'er rip". That was an under-talented bunch that fought hard for every win, right up to the AFC Championship game.

    What Polian and Caldwell seem not to understand is that we don't like quitters in Indy.
  • Put the commercials FIRST!
    How convenient that rather than putting in the commercials at the beginning of the show when Bill took 20 minutes to explain that going undefeated meant nothing to him (it meant everything to the team, the fans and the owner), and going undefeated was never a goal (make it a goal mid way through the third quarter) they elect to have him ramble on and cut out 10 minutes of fans calling him out! Spin it whatever way works for you Anthony but this has become a PR nightmare that won't go away!!! He was wrong! Admit it, apologize and then we will see!
  • Protect?
    Polian's excuses don't ad up. We clinched home field advantage and the regular season win record after the victory over the Broncos in week 14. If that is what it was all about....why even play the starters during the Jacksonville game?

    Oh yeah...Irsay is a part-owner of the NFL Network.
  • Nonsense!
    How many Superbowls did the Patriots or Steelers win by resting / protecting their stars late in the season? None. How many Superbowls did the Colts win with this strategy? NONE. How many playoff games have the Colts lost on a resting strategy? Several! Our lone SB win was as a Wild Card and they had to play hard each week. Play to win - Rest to loose!
    • #3 Seed in Super Bowl Run, Not a Wild Card
      Dave in Indy... I agree wiht you that resting has not benefited us... but we played a first-round playoff game in the Super Bowl run because we were the #3 seed (we won the AFC South that year), not because we were a wild card.
    • Resting gives you Zzzzz's
      Yep, like I was alluding to earlier, Dave in Indy - you nailed it. While the Bye week gives them a chance to rest a bit, I think it makes for a worse team (at least in Indy it does). Personally, I think the Colts are at a disadvantage by having a Bye, and certainly by taking 2 more weeks off on top of that.
    • Something deeper...
      Maybe, just maybe, letting the Jets win was a way to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs? If the Steelers get in as 6th seed and win their wild-card game, then they would be the team coming to Indy for our first home playoff game...

      Could that be the real reason for tanking against the Jets? We'd rather see the Bengals, Ravens, or Jets in our first game?
    • Polian Liar/Coward
      Polian quote Dec. 22 2009: "You do want to win every time you take the field. There is a lot of misinformation floating around about how to approach it and how we should approach it. Every time you go out on the field you want to win, whether it's a scrimmage, whether it's a preseason game, whether it's a regular season game. Whether it has meaning in the standings or not, you always want to win. Everybody plays to win. We've done that on numerous occasions in the past, most notably a couple of years ago against Arizona here in a very exciting finish. That part of it is a given, and people should not think that no matter who is playing that we don't care about winning the game. We do, greatly. In professional football and professional athletics of any kind, if you're going to play, you better go out there and give it 100 percent. Otherwise, you run a very, very serious risk of injury. So, whoever is going to play has to be ready to go 100 percent physically and emotionally. Now, that said, we have issues that have to be determined and that are yet to be determined as to who can play and who can't physically. Because of the situation where the game doesn't count in the standings, you then apply a different medical barometer than you would if the game had playoff implications. Basically, players who have been playing hurt who can use the rest get the rest. I don't think it will go much beyond that. That's our only concern. Everybody else has to get ready to play and go 100 percent, and we want to win the game."
    • Kravitz has it right
      In a recent column, The Star's Bob Kravitz noted what he thought of Bob Lamey...and he's right. Lamey's standing up for Polian is typical and also two-faced. Listen to any Colts broadcast and the moment the Colts make a mistake, he's right there to criticize. He's a shill for the Colts organization. Nothing too much insightful ever comes from ole' Hockey Bob.

      Say what you will about Kravitz, but his column about Sunday's game was right on target. And, Polian is out of touch with his customers.
    • Give me a break
      I can't wait to hear the lame explanation as to why Reggie and Dallas were on the field yesterday for a meaningless stat of 100 receptions on the year.

      Numerous players reach 100 receptions on the year and you are telling me that is more meaningful than 19-0?

      Polian, you are full of complete BS.

      Anthony, you can spin it any way you want, but I also listened to that show, and it had nothing to do with going to commercial break. One of two things happened, Lamey had the urge for another stadium hot dog, or Polian walked off the set. You tell me.

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