Nobody Asked Me About Chip Kelly, But…

The Philadelphia Eagles have fired coach Chip Kelly with one game left in this 2015 regular season and before completing his third year on the job. The article tries to give reasons why the ‘Chip Kelly Experiment’ failed. That is, why the mile-a-minute offensive system he used at Oregon, with great success, did not function in the NFL. The article gives any number of explanations for this huge flop, most of them pertaining to what I call ‘technical questions.’

But here is the real reason: Chip Kelly thought his system was the answer to all questions. When coaches think like this, they think THEY are the end-all to solving problems. They want PLAYERS to ADAPT TO THE SYSTEM. I call those coaches “High Fashion Designers.” My own personal philosophy was 180° from that, a direct opposite. I’m of the idea that i’ts the other way around, that the COACH must ADAPT TO THE PLAYERS. I have often said, “I’m not high profile fashion designer. I’m just a humble tailor, trying to make the jacket and pants fit my ‘client.’

Yes, a system may work and it may exalt the qualities of the players on hand. That sort of thing, however, usually has a short shelf time. I remember when the Split-T Formation came to college and high school football. It was invented in 1942, at the University of Missouri, by coach Don Faurot. He had immediate success with the Split-T, with a big season and a bowl win. But opponents caught up quickly. By the mid-50s, the Split-T was obsolete (though parts of it, like the QB option, still exist). So, systems work if you have the people to make them work.

I’m still of the idea that Phil Jackson is way too much of a slave to his ‘Triangle Offense’ as President of the NY Knicks. That works well if you have Jordan-Pippen-Rodman in Chicago or Kobe-Shaq-Gasol in Los Angeles … not so well with the present roster the Knicks have. It helps any coach to be flexible, to adapt to the reality of his situation. Evidently, Chip Kelly had a most difficult time doing that. Will this be a lesson for him? I don’t think so. Like someone said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, thinking it will work.” Amen to that.