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

tenure.

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.”