Chip Kelly Leaves Oregon for Philly
Chip Kelly is just the latest of college coaches seeking to validate their prolific NCAA coaching careers by going pro. In joining the NFL, Kelly (as well as any other college coach that makes the leap) has to deal with a lot of change. Surely what he had accomplished while at Oregon was impressive, but it may not have met his standards for what he had in mind in terms of accomplishments. Garnering many awards as a coach (nearly all coming in 2010) Kelly was the recipient of several “Coach of the Year” and he also led the Ducks to three Pac-10/Pac-12 championships. However, he never did reach the BCS title game with Oregon after becoming their head coach in 2009 (he was Oregon’s offensive coordinator from 2007-2008). Before joining the Ducks, he was never a head coach before but served under several coaching titles for three other NCAA schools (Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and New Hampshire).
So I presume the big question is: How will Chip Kelly’s limited NCAA success translate to turning around a team in one of the toughest sports cities in all the world?
My answer: It doesn’t.
Chip Kelly won’t be able to do much for a franchise that has essentially fallen apart in the last few years. The Eagles have gone from a team that was on the verge of winning a Super Bowl in the early 2000s to one that has completely lost its identity and Chip Kelly is not going to be able to find it for them. The only thing Kelly will be able to do is try his best not to get fired. Working in Philadelphia as a sports figure of any kind is never easy and I know that at the first signs of difficulty, the Eagles fans will be all over Kelly.
There is no mercy from Philadelphia sports fans. Even if Kelly was able to lead the Eagles to the playoffs in the first two or three seasons he will be criticized for having taken so long to do so. And if recent history dictates anything when it comes to NCAA coaches making the leap to the NFL, only Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers has been able to compile a winning percentage which did not pale in comparison to his NCAA winning percentage. In other words, Pete Carroll, Tom Coughlin, and Greg Schiano (just to name a few) have all failed to do better in the NFL than they did in Division I NCAA Football.
In fact, Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, who recently lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional Playloff round, has fallen the farthest from the top. His .836 winning percentage has dropped 0.318 points to .518 (nearly a 40-percent drop). Chip Kelly’s NCAA winning percentage was .868 and if things continue to go in a similar direction for the Eagles, he and the team could be staring another 4-12 season in the face come his first season.
It may come as a surprise that just 10 days after saying he would stay at Oregon, Kelly now finds himself in the NFL, but only for those who truly thought Kelly could resist the temptation of making the leap. Sure he made $2.8 million dollars last season as the Ducks’ head coach, but the NFL offers better pay and a greater opportunity for recognition.
I suppose the only thing left to see if whether or not Kelly can be a success in the NFL.
So fans, tells us what you think about Chip Kelly and his move to the NFL. Did he make the right decision or will the city of Philadelphia and Eagles’ fans eat him alive?