The Philadelphia Eagles were on the wrong side of Chip Kelly’s now legendary indecisions on Jan. 6, when he reportedly decided to stay with the Oregon Ducks. Just as Kelly turned away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he looked ready to join them last year, he seemed to be turning away from the Eagles and the NFL at the last minute again.
But on Jan. 16, Kelly changed his mind yet again, and this time the Eagles are cheering. Over a week after their first choice for head coach seemed to turn them down, Kelly reversed course and signed with Philadelphia, as ESPN first reported.
The final decision came after Kelly was originally close to signing with the Cleveland Browns, then looked closely at the Eagles, and then allegedly decided to stay in school. For the next week, the Eagles moved onto a long list of candidates, with Gus Bradley, Ken Whisenhunt and Brian Billick as the new frontrunners.
But although Bradley made the Seattle Seahawks the stingiest defense in the NFL, and although Whisenhunt and Billick have each coached in the Super Bowl, they weren’t Kelly. As such, the Eagles kept lines of communication open with him, especially since Oregon hadn’t actually made an official announcement that he was staying.
Just as all signs pointed to Bradley as Philadelphia’s new coach, Kelly somehow came back to the fold behind everyone’s back. Although his previous changes of heart had favored Oregon, this latest reversal broke the hearts of everyone in Eugene, and uplifted those in Philadelphia.
Kelly put fans, executives and administrators in both coasts through a rollercoaster this month. But at the very last minute, when it looked like his door to the NFL would be closed for another year, he made the leap at long last. Now the Eagles hope that his new reputation as an indecisive, if not completely dishonest, head coach won’t carry over to Philadelphia with him.
The franchise must make many more tough decisions over the next several months, as they erase the Andy Reid era and start all over again. If Kelly can truly give the Eagles the best personnel on and off the field, he will have to commit to his choices more than he did in the last few weeks.