The entire state of Oregon let out a deep sigh of relief once Chip Kelly decided to stay in Oregon (Okay, maybe not the entire state, but a majority of it.) Coach Kelly has done a lot for the school and for the state. The Oregon Ducks will be a highly ranked team and will be in the conversation for the National Championship for years to come! He had two choices in front of him: the possibility of being one of the best coaches in the NCAA or being a rookie coach in the NFL. This is actually a decision that I faced a few months ago (My decision did not involve millions of dollars, but there is a correlation.)
I was working for a technology company and I had been there for 6.5 years. I was in a stride and I was doing great at my job. Customers were happy with my work, my management was happy that the customers were happy and my cats were happy (I was working from home full time and they liked the attention I gave them. But I am not crazy; they only talked to me once or twice.) If this was high school football, I would have been on the varsity team (Maybe not the all-star quarterback dating the head cheerleader, but I was at least a consistent starter.) Then I received a job offer from a large company. They wanted to bring me in and I was very excited. It was a great opportunity for my career and for me personally. I had to make the choice: did I want to be a big fish in a small pond, or did I want to be “just another fish” in a large pond?
That is a similar decision to what Coach Kelly had in front of him. With the success he has had with Oregon, he has a safe job for the next few years and he is loved in the school and in the state. If he decided to go to Cleveland or Philadelphia, he would have had more of pressure on him and almost no job security. He would have gone into the pressure-cooker that is the NFL and become “another target” for the media members and the fans.
The choice was his and I am sure he had many reasons behind the decision to stay in college. I am not going to criticize him for that. However, I wanted to have some fun. Let’s look at a few reasons why he may have decided against making the jump to the NFL by looking at his options:
(I am pretending that every team that still needs a coach wanted to hire him.)
Arizona – This is a team that has been struggling for a while. The “bright spot” on their lineup is still Larry Fitzgerald. Since 2004, Mr. Fitzgerald has averaged 13.6 receiving yards per reception. So while the rest of the offense and the defense have been struggling, he has still managed to do well, when given a chance to catch the ball.
Another consideration that the new coach of Arizona would have to take into account would be the division that he is going into. San Francisco and Seattle have looked very good the past couple of years and they are young teams. That division will be very tough for the next few years. Let’s also not forget that Jeff Fisher just entered that division with the Rams and that team could have a bright future. They are a young team that played very well this year.
However, Arizona has a lot less rain than Eugene and maybe he wanted to go to sunnier climates.
Chicago – Jay Cutler has been in Chicago for the past few years but their offense continues to struggle. The offense was ranked 29th in passing yards this year with only 3,298 yards. The defense has been a bright spot on the team and it has looked great. The Bears look like a good position for any coach, but there is also a lot of pressure to succeed there.
The Bears are a team that expected to win this year, and they expect to win every year. If Coach Kelly would have gone there, there would have been no “honeymoon” period. He would have been expected to show results on day one! That would have been a lot of stress on a rookie coach.
Plus it snows a lot in Chicago. Which would you choose: Freezing and snow, or 40 degrees with rain?
Cleveland – Cleveland is a team that is rebuilding. They have a new owner and are looking to build the right way. They appear to want to build a stable organization and build the team from within. Those are the teams with prolonged success. Teams that build from within, that draft well, that have stability at the coaching position and at the starting QB position are the teams with success year after year. That is why this position could be a good stop for Coach Kelly.
However, you are going into a division with the Steelers, the Bengals, and the Ravens who all have good defenses. Those teams were ranked 1st, 6th, and 17th in total yards against this year respectively (The Ravens faced many injuries this year but they are still historically tough on defense.)
With three other good teams in the division, it may be a few years until the Browns will be able to break through.
Philadelphia – This is a team that faced myriad injuries this year but still has a lot of talent on the team. It is possible that the players in the system already could have played Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense, however; this is another team that will have a lot of high expectations next year. They thought they were good enough to make the playoffs this year, so they will want to be in a position to make it next year.
However, with all the injury problems and the uncertainty with the coach, the Eagles still managed to be 15th in total offensive yards and defensive yards against. They were right in the middle of the pack, which tells me that talent and passion are still there.
This would not have been a bad stop for our Oregon friend, but the demands on the coach would have been immense. Philly fans are known for being passionate and smart and they would not accept many down years.
San Diego – I could talk about the statistics from the San Diego Chargers. I could say that there is talent on that roster and they have been a very good team for the last few years. I could also go into their history and say that the Chargers won the AFC West 5 of the last 9 years.
I could say all of that but I do not have to. The positives of the Chargers comes down to 1 thing; San Diego. Ron Burgundy knew it was the greatest city in the world and it is. Who wouldn’t want to live in a city where it is nice 11 months out of the year? You live by the beach and it is warm almost all year long!
Yeah, the football team is good, but you cannot beat the location (Even if they move to Los Angeles).
Coach Kelly decided to stay and I am glad that he did. I think there is much more to do in Oregon. Hopefully he will bring many championships to Oregon and his resume will just keep getting better. He will make it to the NFL one day and he will likely succeed. But until that fateful day, the Ducks will be thankful to have him.