This might have been Bill Polian's downfall. Bill let Chris take over much of the scouting and draft decisions, and things have gone decidedly down since. We all knew the Colts would not be successful if Peyton ever went down. Nobody knew the foundation was quite as sandy as it has turned out to be. There had to be a scapegoat, and it was pretty easy to find one. If anybody had missed the signs, Bob Kravitz with the Indianapolis Star* made sure it wasn't unnoticed.
*Kravie is, generally speaking, an idiot who says a lot of outlandish things, which is probably why if the Indy Star makes it on ESPN, it's usually for something Kravie has written or said. But, he was spot on with this one. Unfortunately, it looks like the Star is still finding ways to make some money, so you might be out of luck. If I get ambitious (and I was up early today, so maybe I will), I'll dig in Wabash's archives and find and print the microfilm version of that particular article.
Did I see this move coming? Not particularly, but I'm not upset about it, nor do I get the sense that many other fans are, either. The Colts had built a team that was totally engineered to play one way, which led to many playoff disappointments. When Peyton Manning was removed, who was the main cog driving the way the team was built to play, it became painfully obvious that the machine wouldn't work in the NFL. It's just far too fragile for success beyond what a truly transcendent quarterback can give you. And without good drafts, which Polian the Younger had proven all but incompetent at, the cupboards will not be stocked with enough talent to make it work in the post-Manning era.
I wasn't in the room, so I don't know this, but I get the feeling that Jim Irsay said Chris had to go, but Bill could say. Bill, as loyalty would dictate, declined to fire his son. This left Irsay with no real decision, and both Polians were removed from the office. Jim Caldwell stays on for now, but I wouldn't get too comfortable if I were in his shoes. As soon as a "superstar" coach decides he'd like to see what he could do with Peyton Manning, I think Caldwell is gone. I've heard rumblings (including Kravitz) that Jeff Fisher might be that coach. Which would be fine and good, I suppose. I don't think it too much matters, to be honest.
As far as the upcoming draft is concerned, the Colts won't have to do too much evaluating up front. They get the first pick, and they better use it. And the way the league is headed, they might as well get a quarterback. Andrew Luck said the textbook politically correct thing last night after his bowl game. I'm not convinced there's anything really sincere when he says he would be happy doing it, but I do believe he would do it. As a side note, I don't think Peyton is going anywhere, period. The other option in the draft would be the Baylor quarterback, Robert Griffin III. Of those two choices, I would probably prefer the Colts draft Luck. He seems to be more in the Manning mold, which the Colts have shown they can do something with. I'm sure Griffin will do fine,* I just don't know if the Colts can really do much with a running quarterback. We've seen the Peyton mold work, so let's keep the quarterback style in place and do what we can to rebuild the O-Line and the defense in the meantime.
And that, as they say, is all I have to say about that.