Bill Polian recently joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis. Here are some highlights of the conversation.
Are you stepping away from being involved in the normal day-to-day operations due to the fact you’re passing on responsibilities to your son Chris?
“Oh yeah I’m going to be involved as I always have been, but my focus is going to turn toward labor much more in depth in terms of developing a strategy for the way forward with an extensively new labor agreement whenever that comes. In terms of football as strongly as ever [in] personnel and maybe even expanding that a little bit [and] getting away from day-to-day administration, which Chris [Polian] is going to take over salary cap management, which will give me more time into strategy and football."
Looking back as a career NFL front office executive how tough was this season with all the injuries in bringing a new player “every Tuesday” it seemed like this year?
“Well it’s toughest on A.) Jim Caldwell and B.) the coaches. Jim had to spend virtually all day Monday and most of Tuesday interacting with us in terms of trying to get the roster balanced up and decide who could play and who couldn’t play and making decision on putting guys on injured reserve, how we could construct a squad to even practice. That’s tremendously draining and it takes him away from helping the other coaches get focused on what we have to do to win the game. That’s the hidden part of all that. Secondly, the coaches themselves week-after-week had to get guys ready to play who had not been in mini-camp, not been in OTAs, not been in training camp, knew nothing of our system. Alan Williams is probably the poster boy for that coaching the safeties. Every week he had a different guy. They were coming from all over. It wasn’t until we had Aaron Francisco come back that we had anybody with any familiarity at all with our system. That’s really, really, a tough job. It drains you over the course of 16-games. It zaps your energy. It causes extra work in a profession where an 18-hour day is the norm and do that as successfully as we did speaks volumes about both the dedication and the professionalism of this coaching staff.”
How optimistic and hopeful are you for business as usual in the NFL for the 2011-12 next season?
“Well I don’t know. The answer is I don’t know. I think there’s enough unknowns out there to make you pause as to whether or not there will be some sort of interruption of the normal routine. Will that extend to the preseason? Will that extend to the regular season? Might it endanger the Super Bowl? The odds of endangering the Super Bowl are almost non-existent. The odds of something existing into the preseason and on into the regular season I can’t calculate because I don’t know what the union’s position is and it would be foolish of me to do so. One thing I know I told this to the players at some point in time the history of labor discussion in professional sports is that they end. At some point and you come back to work. You have an agreement and you have a new way of doing business. Both sides may not be completely happy, but business resumes as it always does. I know that’s what Commissioner Goodell wants and I know it’s what the owners want. I suspect very strongly that’s what the union wants as well. In that sense I’m optimistic, but I’m not a soothsayer and can’t predict the future. I don’t try to. I’ve always remained optimistic because I know and I’ve been involved in three of these things throughout my career. I know that sooner or later they do get settled and that’s going to happen here. The only question is when.”
Read some more of the transcript from SportsRadioInterviews.com and listen to the whole interview here.