Chip Experiment Off To Good Start
By Scott Daniels
You have to love Chip Kelly right now. After Andy Reid’s dismissal last season, he quickly became the popular choice to take over the Eagles. But unlike Kelly’s offense, the Eagles took their time, weighed their options and only appeared to be interested, not in love, with the Oregon Duck head coach.
Although Kelly had several suitors in the NFL, the Eagles made a valiant push for the energetic and charismatic college coach, but seemed to fall short when Kelly returned home to Eugene. Almost instantaneously, the media equated this to Kelly staying put at Oregon.
But Kelly did what he usually does when making decisions on the field. He defied normalcy and shocked the sports world when he accepted the Eagles head coaching job. But was it shocking? Kelly never verbally confirmed he wasn’t taking the Eagles gig. He simply flew home after what appeared to be an extended second interview.
Nevertheless, before Kelly’s hire, Eagles fans were unsure about him, and rightfully so. The guy has never coached a down in the NFL. But since his hire, Eagles fans have fascinatingly warmed up to Kelly’s obscurity. He’s been received as someone who has the potential to bring creative change to a team that was overly predictable for way too long.
Kelly’s timing could not be better. Reid’s tenure felt like a stale marriage that ended years ago; his postgame press conferences resembled an apologetic cheating husband. Kelly is a bit of mystery to most Eagle fans, but maybe that’s why they approve of him: he represents change. And after 14 seasons with Reid, change was necessary.
Make no mistake about it, Kelly will be judged by wins. Philly fans are probably the least patient fans in all of sports; expectations are always high. Kelly has literally gone from eternal comfort in Eugene, to a volcanic hotbed in Philly where even the smallest coaching gaffes are scrutinized to the fullest extent. That said, he appears to be well liked at the moment because of his intrigue. If he can conjure wins, he’ll quickly be appointed king in a city fraught with meritocracy.