The Philadelphia Eagles are allegedly set to make a run at Brian Kelly, according to ESPN on Jan. 10. If true, the Eagles would get a coach who just completed a stunning turnaround at Notre Dame, which is what Philadelphia really needs. But can one good year be enough to make Kelly the ideal pro coach?
Although Kelly has succeeded on multiple college levels with multiple programs, his reputation has mainly been built on two undefeated regular seasons. His perfect record with the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2009 got him the job at Notre Dame, and now his BCS title game appearance with the 2012 Irish has gotten the Eagles’ attention.
But before 2012, Kelly was off to a rocky start at Notre Dame. He had two mediocre seasons and the Irish appeared no closer to being relevant again. Even this past season, the Irish needed some late lucky breaks to win a handful of games – and their blowout loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Jan. 7 was a harsh reality check.
Kelly did wonders in one season with the Irish, but if he repeated it in 2013 and kept Notre Dame from being a one-year wonder, then it would be impressive. However, if Philadelphia lures him away before he can do that, it would be taking a considerable risk.
Kelly has never coached in the NFL before, and his limitations were exposed by Alabama days ago. Then again, almost all college coaches look worse compared to Nick Saban and the Tide these days. And since the Eagles have already met with Kelly and plan to talk to him again this weekend, according to ESPN, his last game doesn’t appear to have scared them off.
To be fair, other professional coaching candidates are being boosted by just one solid year. Bruce Arians, Gus Bradley and Mike McCoy have also been pursued by the Eagles due to their sudden success in 2012. Yet if they hire Arians because of how he filled in as the Indianapolis Colts’ coach, or Bradley due to the Seattle Seahawks’ playoff run, or McCoy because of his work with Peyton Manning, will the Eagles find out that these were cases of fools gold?
No matter who Philadelphia hires, it must make sure that it doesn’t get carried away by one good season, with Kelly now the latest example.