It takes eight weeks to create the new Ring of Excellence, one of three icons presented to NFL Hall of Famers such as former Bills general manager Bill Polian. Eight weeks is a long time, but not when compared to the more than 1,400 weeks of excellence it took Polian to earn it.
Polian entered the NFL Hall of Fame in August, being recognized for a stellar, 27-year NFL Career. He led the front offices of the Bills, Carolina Panthers, and Indianapolis Colts along the way, first rising to prominence with the Bills between 1986 and 1993 when he's credited with building the teams that won four straight AFC titles and made four Super Bowl appearances. The only six-time recipient of the NFL Executive of the Year Award was named to the Bills Wall of Fame in 2012, and his heart still is with the Buffalo community.
Photos of the action from Week 2's Bills vs. Patriots game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"For 25 years, you have held us in your hearts, and we thank you," he said during his brief speech to the crowd. "Now, under the leadership of Terry and Kim Pegula, it's time for your children and grandchildren to share the same memories that we share with all of you."
While Polian is tremendously moved by the occasion, the speech he delivered at halftime of the Bills week two-game vs. the Patriots was simple compared to the speech he gave in Canton in August.
"The Canton speech had more revisions than Kennedy's inaugural. There were a lot of people to mention and a very, very small time in which to do it, so that was much more difficult," he said.
Besides, Polian is comfortable here, and he wanted to the ceremony to be held in front of the Ralph Wilson Stadium-faithful, whom he referred to as the most dedicated fans in America. The man who led the Bills to all four of the Super Bowl appearances called the players and coaches from his tenure a big part of his football family. He was joined this weekend by fellow Bills' Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, and Bruce Smith, among others, and he was thrilled to receive his ring of excellence in front of the city where his success began.
"Not only do we have great family ties to Buffalo and a great many friends here to witness this ceremony, but the reason I'm in the hall is because of those guys and their teammates, so to have them here and have [former head coach] Marv [Levy] here to be part of it was really special to me," Polian said. "Where would you rather be than right here, right now? No place."