Bill Polian: Enhanced season “subject to lengthy discussion in detail with the Players Association”

Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian (right) discussed the enhanced season and clarified earlier remarks on the topic in an interview today on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike Show.

“I said that the 18-game season was a fait accompli, and as you guys know because you follow it closely, it isn’t,” Polian said. “It is subject to lengthy discussion in detail with the Players Association and then subject to a vote of ownership. Unfortunately, I was imprecise because as a general manager I have to think as though these things are fait accompli and my answer was in that context.  Unfortunately, because I wasn’t precise, the answer was obscured and I created a headline that was 180 degrees from what I intended to do.”

“There is a way to do this right,” Polian continued. “The Competition Committee is working on it. I’m one of the handful of people in the league who’s had experience with the 18-2 model – both in the CFL and the USFL.  I think there are ways we can find to do it right.  Part of that is looking at the 12-month football calendar, not just the regular season and the preseason.  The commissioner is committed to do that.  He is in discussions and will be with the Players Association in great detail. Out of that I hope will come a situation that works for everybody.”

Following is a complete transcript of the Mike and Mike interview.

Bill Polian on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike Show

September 29, 2010

 

Q. You said in an interview a few days ago that an 18-game schedule is a ‘fait accompli.’ What effect will an additional two regular-season games have on the NFL, teams, preparation and everything else?

Bill Polian: First, let me say that I was answering a question posed to me on a radio show that came from a statement that Tony Dungy made.  Tony said that he thought the 18-game schedule would affect the Colts negatively because it would take away evaluative opportunities that for us had produced players like Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, who were collegiate free agents who have come on to play awfully well for us.

In answering that question, I was very imprecise.  I said that the 18-game season was a fait accompli, and as you guys know because you follow it closely, it isn’t.  It is subject to lengthy discussion in detail with the Players Association and then subject to a vote of ownership. Unfortunately, I was imprecise because as a general manager I have to think as though these things are fait accompli and my answer was in that context.  Unfortunately, because I wasn’t precise, the answer was obscured and I created a headline that was 180 degrees from what I intended to do.

The answer to that particular question was that I think there is a way to do this right. The Competition Committee is working on it. I’m one of the handful of people in the league who’s had experience with the 18-2 model – both in the CFL and the USFL.  I think there are ways we can find to do it right.  Part of that is looking at the 12-month football calendar, not just the regular season and the preseason.  The commissioner is committed to do that.  He is in discussions and will be with the Players Association in great detail. Out of that I hope will come a situation that works for everybody.  I think we can solve what problems present themselves.  We can learn from the CFL and USFL experience.  Hopefully, everybody agrees on something that is good for the game.  I think that is going to happen.  As Golic is fond of saying, ‘bad job by me in answering the question.’

Q. Talk about the CFL and USFL, which had 18 games and what injury situations existed late in the season.

Bill Polian: I think you have to study all the issues.  The NFL is not the CFL or the USFL. There are other issues there.  One of the things we found out in the USFL was that instead of preseason games we had scrimmages and joint practices and we were able to get the evaluative opportunities for the Gary Bracketts and Melvin Bullitts that you might get if you had a longer preseason schedule. The other thing we found was that fans liked the 18 games and they are an important part of this equation.  The commissioner has pointed that out on numerous occasions.

The 12-month calendar is an important issue. It didn’t exist in the USFL and it doesn’t exist to my knowledge in the CFL. I have to do more research on that. The bottom line is if we address the 12-month calendar in terms of what people do year round, we may be able to create an environment that works for everybody and makes it a situation where injuries are not untoward.

Q. Peyton Manning said he is very concerned about the reducing the amount of time in the offseason, pointing out that he was throwing to this guy no one ever heard of in April and if he hadn’t been throwing to him in April there’s no way he would’ve thrown a touchdown to him this past weekend. Is that the kind of thing you are talking about?

Bill Polian: Exactly and we have to find ways to work through that with the Competition Committee, general managers and others. Players like Peyton and former players like Howie Long are weighing in. That’s good; it’s part of the discussion.

Q. [from Mike Golic] I’m wondering if you ever picked up a dinner tab like Dez Bryant did that was about $55,000 on Monday night for the Cowboys?

Bill Polian: When you and I and [Mike Greenberg] broke bread at St. Elmo’s in Indianapolis, I was worried that it would come to that. But fortunately it didn’t get anywhere near there so I’m still employed by Mr. Irsay.

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