December 30, 1985 -- The Buffalo Bills had been wandering in the wilderness for a few years when owner Ralph Wilson took decisive action. He replaced general manager Terry Bledsoe with Bill Polian.
At the time, the Bills were coming off consecutive 2-14 seasons. Polian had been serving as the team's director of pro personnel, after spending time in the United States Football League and the Canadian Football League.
As it turned out, help clearly was on the way. Polian said at his introductory news conference, "I know the NFL well, I know its players, I think I'm prepared for the job."
Indeed he did. Polian became the architect of the Buffalo teams that reached the Super Bowl four straight times, even if the Bills never won one of them. Polian did earn that ring when he was with Indianapolis later in his career. The Bills' GM left that post in 1993.
Polian probably will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day. You could argue that his best work was done right here.
--- Budd Bailey