Bill Polian Reiterates Stance on 18-Game Schedule, Stands Behind Jim Caldwell’s Timeout
Bill Polian made national headlines last week when he said that the NFL’s transition to an 18-game schedule was pretty much a done deal. The Indianapolis Colts president then continued to make those headlines when he retracted said statement on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio. This week, he probably won’t make any news as he seems to be standing by the latest statement that there’s still plenty of ways to go in the process of moving toward an 18-game slate. And getting that out of the way has allowed him to take a stance on a far less controversial topic, yet one that has Indianapolis fans buzzing. Coach Jim Caldwell took what can only be described as an odd timeout against Jacksonville on Sunday, stopping the clock for the Jaguars as they moved down the field and set up for an enormous game-winning field goal. Caldwell has stood behind his decision and Polian is standing behind Caldwell.
Bill Polian joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis with Brandon Gaudin to discuss Caldwell’s strategy in taking a mind-boggling timeout, fans in Indy who are disappointed in the Colts’ start this season, pulling back his statement that an 18-game NFL schedule is a done deal, NFL players and former players who are speaking out against the 18-game slate and whether he’s concerned that an 18-game schedule might water down an already great product.
On Colts coach Jim Caldwell calling a timeout that seemed to help the Jaguars set up their winning kick:
“I thought it was perfectly OK. I understood exactly why he made the decision that he did. He was hoping that we could get the ball back, that our defense could get a stop in a situation where they were likely to try and run the ball and that we would be in a position where we could get the ball back and go ahead and make a run at a miracle finish. Now, if you look at the entire league, and I’ve even heard some statistical people say that it’s impossible and can’t be done. Frank Wright broke out the odds of that with Peyton Manning and they’re very much more different than the odds for the league. In fact, we’ve had more than a half dozens so-called miracle comebacks under one minute and many under two minutes with Peyton. So it certainly was possible and I understood what his thinking was. … We did not stop them nor did we catch an interception that would have put the game in overtime, if not put us in position to kick a winning field goal. It’s what we did after the decision that counted, not the decision.”
On Colts fans being disappointed with the 2-2 start:
“Fans have every right to do whatever they wish, think however they wish, react however they wish. They are an integral part, the lifeblood of our business, so they certainly are entitled to their opinion, whatever it may be. I read an epigram in the paper this morning … and that’s ‘Praise and blame, they’re all the same. They shouldn’t affect you.’ All of that discussion and noise can’t affect us. We can’t allow it to affect us.”
On pulling back his statement that an 18-game NFL schedule was a done deal:
“I mentioned on the Mike and Mike show a week ago that I was imprecise in my remarks. When I said it was a done deal, I was thinking in terms of the context of the question which was asked of me as a person who has to put a squad together. In the context of the real world and the labor negotiations, it is far from a done deal. It’s a subject that has to be discussed, it has to be vetted. … My remarks were imprecise and out of context and were taken out of context in terms of what the national headline was.”
On current and former NFL players coming out against the 18-game schedule:
“I think it’s appropriate that those voices speak. When you talk about someone like Howie Long, he played a long, long time in this league. He’s a Hall of Fame player. He should weigh in. That’s all for the good. Those kinds of voices need to be heard. I’m not surprised that they are speaking up and I’m glad that they are.”
On whether he’s scared that an already great NFL product might start to feel watered down by adding more games:
“I wouldn’t say it scares me. I certainly think that I’ve heard that opinion voiced and I think it’s a valid opinion. Unfortunately, there isn’t any answer to that until you reach that point. Very many people said the same thing when we went from 14 to 16 games. That point has been made by the proponents for an 18-game season, who say, ‘Listen, those same doomsayers predicted doom when we went from 14 to 16 and in fact the game has flourished.’ It’s a question and a position to which there is no immediate answer.”