The NFL is a conservative organization. From old school coaches to current generation players there are “unwritten rules” that one would be wise to observe. To put it another way, break an unwritten rule and get ready for fall out.
In college head coach Chip Kelly wore the “genius” label in Oregon. The same term was bandied about in his first couple years in the NFL. No more.
Players have Twitter and once 2 AM rolls around don’t seem shy about using it. Coaches and front office personnel have the ubiquitous “anonymous source” card to play in the press and don’t seem nervous about using the tactic. Writers and pundits are quick to jump on board the moment they smell blood in the water. Memes, observations and prognostications become a feeding frenzy event. Facts become rear view mirror after thoughts. It’s the sports version of American political reaction and it’s merciless.
For the last year, it’s been open season on former Philadelphia Eagles and current San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly. He broke several unwritten rules and once he fell out of favor (I mean the moment) the piranha effect took hold.
Kelly burst onto the scene in 2013 taking an Eagles team that went 4-12 the previous season to the NFC East Championship and a 10-6 record. Awesome stuff right? Not really. You see Kelly did it using a non-standard NFL approach. HOW DARE HE!
Kelly has a system. He wants players that fit his style or will bend their game to his scheme. He expects players to compete every day for their position. In today’s agent driven league that’s considered bad form.
Chip followed up his wildly successful rookie campaign by going 10-6 again in 2014 despite a slew of injures to key players. However that was the Cowboys magical year of DeMarco Murray and the Eagles didn’t make the playoffs.
Non-standard approaches are ok in the NFL. As long as you are winning. Stumble, stutter, take a 1/2 step and you are the bulls eye on every NFL dart board. Despite going 10-6 Kelly was getting lambasted by former
prima donna’s players and their mouth pieces agents and web publications run by agents due to his personnel decisions.
It seems Kelly wants football players that are team first, in great shape and really love the game. HOW DARE HE!
Injures, QB, RB and OL play saw the Eagles go 6-9 in 2015 and Chip “Genius” Kelly was unceremoniously shown the door by an owner that showed he had more in common with Washington’s Dan Snyder than Pittsburgh’s Dan Rooney. From former players playing the race card to front office personnel giving anonymous rips it’s a wonder Kelly was able to find work in the NFL after the Philly experience.
The new Eagles regime is being lauded in the press and back hallways for “righting” the Philadelphia ship this offseason. It makes no difference the Eagles won’t win the NFC East in 2016, they are operating in a proper NFL fashion now! Agents are happy. Team prima donna’s are happy. Club fans are happy.
They are all wrong.
Kelly took a losing organization in cap hell and turned it around. He made the team dangerous. He made other coaches react to his team, not the other way around. That’s called innovation.
The 49ers organization is a mess. QB with serious public relation issues that has gone down hill for the last two seasons. Check. Defense that is bleeding talent via retirement, suspension and injury? Check. Dysfunctional front office? Check. Ownership issues? Check. Chip Kelly is a perfect fit.
Addicted to challenge, nonplussed by the media and an ability to ignore agent/player pressure are key attributes Kelly has by the bucketful. The Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks aren’t used to the Kelly up-tempo game. In a tough division look for the 49ers to be competing for the title in 2016.
Due to talent deficiencies they should come up short by a fair margin. However my money is on the Chipster. Innovator, calm, collected, driven, highly intelligent and a game day tactician of the highest order Chip Kelly is a winner. The NFL needs to get over it.
Kelly won’t be a genius” again in the NFL until he holds a Lombardi Trophy in his hands. Then he will probably get fired the next year. Did I mention the NFL is a conservative organization?
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over