How many times have you thought about making a major decision in your life and your nay-saying albeit well-intentioned family and friends have said…”you know the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side” and/or “be careful what you wish for.”
When we feel a need to make a significant change in the course of our own current events we can often curse ourselves with “paralysis by analysis.” We come up with so many scenarios how ways could go the wrong way doing nothing…becomes the thing.
And the song remains the same…
There were songs being sung, bells peeling and fireworks popping in Philadelphia when Chip Kelly was relieved of his duties as Head Coach of the Eagles earlier this week. Oh sure…there are folks pointing out it was not even a full year since Kelly received full control of all decisions relative to the product on the football field. They caution it takes more time to see a vision through. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
But Pompeii was destroyed in one.
And the Eagles were not far behind the latter time frame when Kelly was dismissed.
To those outside Philadelphia it probably is shocking. The national media, especially ESPN, loved Chip Kelly because he was great press. Ironically, by loathing press. He sneered and snickered his way through his time here, letting everyone know how little we all knew and how insignificant we were, reporters and fans alike. But more importantly…his arrogance extended to players…and eventually once allowed…roster evaluation.
He arrived here from fairly insulated circumstances, having had success at locations where the demands of both fans and media alike were not as white-hot as they are in these parts.
You may recall in the summer it came out Chip had been previously married for years. At that time a series of interviews subsequently revealed not only did his co-worker coaches not know that…they literally never talked to him about anything but football for the whole time they worked with him.
Philadelphia Eagles Owner Jeff Lurie’s HC search after disposing of Andy Reid in retrospect may have been sabotaged from the start if it was based in a significant way on the opinion of others.
Yet, there were so many inherent risks in choosing Chip easily visible to us all, not the least of which was his lack of experience leading grown men instead of college boys. Not the least of which was the afore-mentioned lack of experience in coming to a place where football is a form of fanatic fandom-religion. Not the least of which was his arrogant and self-assured personality he displayed when he made himself visible. Not the least of which was running more plays more quickly being more important to him than making each play a positive one. Not the least of which was his unique outlook the way you hydrate humans and cultivate culture ultimately wins more football games than talent.
Actions speak louder than words.
Jeff Lurie bought the Philadelphia Eagles in May of 1994 and has never stepped into the spotlight much. He usually gives his pre-season and post-season remarks on how things went from his prospective. His actions all these years indicate the likelihood he patiently lets his employees do their thing.
And since he didn’t give Chip Kelly total control of his team from Day One we can infer from that lack of action he had some concerns about giving him the total control Kelly assuredly wanted from Day One.
And after a couple of 10-6 seasons with a lot of points tallied within…Lurie for whatever reason caved in…and the action became giving Chip Kelly total control.
And that action was the beginning of the end.
Here’s a few snippets from Chip Kelly’s first-ever draft pick, right tackle Lane Johnson, after the announcement of Kelly’s firing. This from an interview with Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News:
Johnson – “Maybe the ego got in the way. Too much power. Control. Not being human about things. Not working together, with the team, instead of being a dictator.”
Hayes – “He (Johnson) said Kelly ignored complaints of overwork in practice. He excoriated Kelly’s “Machine Gun” scheme as too taxing, especially for big, every-down linemen such as himself. More than anything, Johnson cast Kelly as an autocrat unable to alter his vision and unwilling to accept input from players. Johnson painted a picture of paranoia, a locker room where criticism and complaint would be met with punishment of marginalization and, eventually, unemployment. Kelly preached a culture of self-sacrifice and professionalism but he created a culture in which players and coaches did not dare question anything, lest they be sent away as stars DeSean Jackson, Shady McCoy and Jeremy Maclin were. Kelly created a culture of…fear?”
Johnson – “To be honest, yeah. We’d tell our position coaches but I don’t know if it ever leaves that room…maybe there was an intimidation factor…after Shady and all those guys were (subtracted) it opened up some eyes.”
DeSean Jackson was sent away a year earlier. Once Kelly got full control three-quarters of the defensive backfield was swapped out, the best running back in the team’s history was dismissed along with a franchise receiver…as well as a top pass rusher and two starting guards. All almost at once.
The Eagles have lost four of their last six games. The two wins were a special-teams fueled victory over the broken and battered Patriots and a triumph over the stumbling, bumbling Buffalo Bills. In their four losses within that time the average margin of defeat has been 24 points, including getting humiliated on their home field against the Washington Redskins with an NFC East title (for what THAT’S worth) still on the line.
In a press conference the day before the end, after that embarrassing loss to rival Washington, Chip Kelly actually uttered the words “I’m not the general manager.”
Which this fan thinks is the precise, crystallizing moment Jeff Lurie, already ruminating over the worst business decision of his career in or out of football and deeply contemplating a change, decided to go all the way…and send Chip Kelly completely away.
Kelly was fired even before the final game of the season was played.
Jeff Lurie is obviously quite angry at Chip Kelly.
Jeff Lurie is obviously quite angry with Jeff Lurie.
Actions speak very, very loudly.