Today in “Old Man Yells at Cloud” news...
Bill Polian is one of the most accomplished executives in the history of the NFL. He served as General Manager of the Buffalo Bills teams that made an unprecedented four straight Super Bowls in the 1990’s. He served a brief stint as GM of the Carolina Panthers, quickly building an expansion team into a contender as the Panthers made the NFC Championship Game in only their second year of existence. That led to Polian being hired for the job he is best known for: Vice Chairman of the Indianapolis Colts. The first pick the Colts made in 1998 was a quarterback named Peyton Manning, which turned alright for Indianapolis. Polian enjoyed a great run of success with Manning until being fired after the 2011 season, where the Manning-less Colts stumbled to a 2-14 record.
Since then, Polian has been an NFL analyst for ESPN. His vast experience makes him very qualified to talk about football matters. His induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015 makes him qualified to discuss his opinion on who he think should and shouldn’t join him in Canton.
But that doesn’t necessarily make him right.
In a recent interview with the Talk Of Fame Network, Polian was asked about whether he would pick Terrell Owens or former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss to make the Hall of Fame next season. Owens has been eligible for the past two years and next year will be Moss’ first on the ballot. His answer:
I take neither...First of all, here’s my position: (I want players who) contribute both individually and to the team. T.O.’s situation, T.O.’s temperament, his ability to contribute to the team was well known up front. He was going to be a problem. We did not want to deal with problem children. Others may. We didn’t.
That’s number one. Number two, every year in Indianapolis we said the following: ‘The price of admission is 100 percent effort all the time in everything we do.’ Well, how can we take Randy Moss when we make that statement? It’s that simple.
Polian isn’t alone in his opinion—Owens’ off-field antics and reputation for being a difficult teammate have contributed to him getting shut out of Canton for the past two years despite excellent career stats. Similar issues will likely get brought up when Moss is eligible during next year’s discussion before the Super Bowl. That said, Polian’s opinion smacks of someone getting on their proverbial soapbox and telling these young whipper snappers how to do things “the right way.”
Did Owens and Moss rub some people the wrong way and burn some bridges during their careers? Of course. But it’s not like they’re the first elite wide receivers to ruffle some feathers. If Michael Irvin made it in with far numbers and MUCH worse off-field troubles, Owens and Moss should both be there.
And even Polian thinks that both players will eventually make it in, much to his chagrin.
I think they will, unfortunately in my view, because whether you like it or not. these ‘electoral campaigns’ have a way of swinging people. In my view, and I said this publicly last year, I think the Hall of Fames are for people who make their teams better, not who detract from them. Now, T.O. was a bigger detractor over his career than Moss, but you certainly wouldn’t call [Moss’ attitude] any harbinger or example of what you want in a football player other than when he decided to play. ‘I play when I play.’ I don’t buy it.
So remember kids, if you want to make the Hall of Fame the right way in Bill Polian’s eyes, don’t “take away from your team” even if you’re one of the best wide receivers to ever play the game. Simply ride the coattails of Jim Kelly and Peyton Manning for 20 years. That’s “the right way.”