Bills induct Polian to Wall of Fame
When he took charge of a Bills team that had won only four times
over their previous two seasons, Bill Polian was confident they
would one day achieve success.
His dreams quickly became reality.
Polian, the architect of the Bills’ glory years when the team
won four straight AFC championships in the early 1990s, became the
28th member of the Bills’ Wall of Fame on Sunday in a ceremony at
halftime of their game against the Tennessee Titans.
”We talked about (the Super Bowl) almost from Day 1,” Polian
said. ”That was our goal. So we weren’t surprised when we got
there. We reached our goal, but didn’t quite finish the job. But no
one else is ever going to go to four Super Bowls again. It was
truly one of the greatest teams in the history of the NFL.”
Hired in 1986, Polian was the Bills’ general manager for seven
seasons. In one of his first moves, he was able to convince
quarterback Jim Kelly to sign with the Bills to start the `86
season after Kelly had played three seasons in the USFL. He then
hired coach Marv Levy midway through the 1986 season.
From there, Polian molded a team that featured Hall of Famers
Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas, as well as stalwarts such as
receiver Andre Reed and linebacker Darryl Talley. The Bills played
in five AFC championships in six years, and went to four
consecutive Super Bowls.
”They were a great and unique team,” Polian said. ”To have
the resiliency to come back after you’re defeated in the biggest
game of the year, and the biggest game of your life, and to be able
to bounce back and do what they did speaks volumes about what Marv
taught them, and what they are as people.”
Levy came to Sunday’s game to show his support for Polian, who
was the NFL executive of the year twice during his Buffalo
Polian eventually did win a Super Bowl when he was president of
the Indianapolis Colts, but acknowledged that being honored by the
Bills ranks higher in his mind.
”This is right at the top,” he said. ”You learn as you go
through a long career that the accolades and the rings and the
trophies don’t mean much. In the end, what you’re left with is the
experiences, the friendships, and the memories … and I wouldn’t
trade my time here for anything in the world.”