Given that Chip Kelly was fired after less than three seasons in Philadelphia, it would be easy to assume that his Eagles tenure was a failure, that he didn’t succeed in the NFL because he is first and foremost a college coach and was simply in over his head.
That, however, would be an unfair assumption – at least according to FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt. Kelly’s problem in Philadelphia, Klatt opined, had nothing to do with his collegiate roots and everything to do with the mess he inherited under center.
“Name a coach that gets a job that doesn’t have a marquee quarterback – a top-10 quarterback in the league – that it works out for,” Klatt said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Nobody. Nobody. I don’t care where Chip Kelly came from. He could have gone to Philadelphia and because of their quarterback situation, it’s not going to work out. I actually thought he did more with less than most coaches would have done in his situation. I think he’s an innovator, I think that he is a smart man, I think that his process works. It just happens that in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately nature of the NFL when you don’t have a quarterback, you’re going to have a shelf life of between two to four years. This was on the shorter end of that. Chip Kelly came in, wanted to do it his way and then the ownership group wanted to go in a different direction. That’s all it was. It didn’t matter where he came from. That’s the nature of the NFL. If you get a job and you don’t have a quarterback, you’re going to lose that job within three seasons.”
Some people argue that Kelly didn’t understand the NFL, but Kelly’s offense was so good that Nick Foles once threw seven touchdown passes in one game.
That’s right. Seven touchdowns. From Nick Foles.
“Nobody gets the NFL unless they’ve got a great quarterback,” Klatt said. “That’s the nature of it. So unless you understand that, then I would suggest you don’t understand the NFL, either.”
Kelly, who went 26-21 with the Eagles, wasn’t the first collegiate coach to try his hand in the NFL, and he won’t be the last. In fact, some wonder if Nick Saban could bolt for the NFL this offseason, despite claiming that he is happy in Tuscaloosa.
Then again, Saban hasn’t always been the best at keeping his word.
“He can say whatever he wants, and I’m not going to believe him,” Klatt said. “I know that he was one foot in at Austin, Texas. Regardless of what he says, that absolutely was going to happen and it was absolutely true. I think that the Indianapolis Colts’ head-coaching position is the most coveted head-coaching position not only in the NFL, but in professional sports because of Andrew Luck – because of what he is, what he’s meant to that franchise in the first few years and his ability level. Because of that, I think Nick Saban would be crazy not to listen. That’s the pinnacle of success in his sport. I’m sure it eats at him that it was considered a failure at Miami, even though for one of those seasons he was above .500. I’m sure he would listen. Now, whether he goes or not is a very different deal.”