The latest news regarding the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coaching search is that they met with Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly the day after his team was trounced in the BCS Championship game.
I have to be honest, I was immediately irritated after hearing this news.
For some reason that seems to be escaping logical thought, Jeff Lurie and crew are fixated on hiring a college coach. They’ve interviewed Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien and were slated to interview Doug Marrone before he took the job in Buffalo. There were also rumors early-on that they might go after Washington’s Steve Sarkisian.
Now they’ve interviewed Brian Kelly and apparently plan to meet with him again once he returns from vacation.
The Eagles are maintaining that they’re doing their due diligence by interviewing several people and their current tag-line is that they want to find the “right guy”, however long that takes.
The funny thing is, every time a report comes out about the Eagles interviewing someone, there is much ado made over the college coaches. As in, the reports have almost all stated that the college guy they’re interviewing is someone they significantly want, therefore there is more hype surrounding the report.
Supposedly Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien were Nos 1 and 1a on their preferred head coaching list. Every report out there says that the Eagles were seriously interested in these guys. Now it’s ditto for Brian Kelly.
When it’s been an NFL person they’ve interviewed, the reports and corresponding hype have been much more mundane — as in, “meh, the Eagles interviewed Mike McCoy on Sunday, and in other news…”
So, while the Eagles continue to maintain taking their time to find the right guy, it appears that they think the right guy is a college coach. And, if Kelly or O’Brien would have said yes, the Eagles would already have their next head coach.
Don’t let them fool you, Lurie and Roseman had specific targets from the start. Now that they’ve been spurned by two of them, they’re turning their attention to the next college guy.
I’m not going to get into whether or not Brian Kelly is a good coach and/or would be a good fit with the Eagles. Truth is, I don’t know much about him yet so I’ll have to do more research on the man.
The bits and pieces that I have read so far are all positive. Basically, it seems that wherever he has coached, he has done well and won. However, winning in the college ranks is much different than winning in the pros.
I’m extremely hesitant on the college coaching candidates. I prefer someone who has NFL coaching experience. If we hired a college coach, I’d at least want that person to have had some NFL experience.
Chip Kelly had absolutely zero NFL experience and the same goes for Brian Kelly. In case you missed it, here is an article I wrote recently comparing the success rate of college coaches and NFL coordinators when it came to winning the Super Bowl.
There has only been one coach who came directly from the college ranks that went on to win a Super Bowl with his first NFL team. That was Dallas’ Jimmy Johnson back in the early 90’s. Barry Switzer did the same thing, but we can’t count him because he did it with Johnson’s team and was out of football for eight years before taking over for Johnson.
Other college coaches have gone on to be successful in the NFL, such as Tom Coughlin, but that has been with their second or third NFL team. In other words, they were able to get NFL experience and eventually excelled, albeit with someone else.
I do not want the Eagles to serve as a stepping stone for a college coach.
The vast majority of Super Bowl-winning head coaches were coordinators at the NFL level prior to becoming a head coach. To me, that’s an obvious trend that Lurie is bucking.
It might be a cliche by now, but there appears to be some merit to the concept of being able to lead and teach men who make millions of dollars and kids that are playing on scholarships.
There’s no doubt that many college coaches make good leaders. However, when they jump to the NFL, it’s a different world and they have to figure out how to lead in this environment. That takes time, which is usually why you don’t see them become successful until their second try at it.
This isn’t about what Brian Kelly is or what he isn’t, this is about giving the Eagles the best chance at getting a championship. And history says very convincingly, the person to do that will have come up through the ranks of the NFL coaching tree.
Hopefully, Brian Kelly decides to stay at Notre Dame. It’s quite possible he’s doing what the others have done and is using the Eagles to get a pay raise from ND.
Again, let me be clear, I’m not saying Brian Kelly isn’t a good coach, but the chances of him or any other college coach getting us a Lombardi trophy are much worse than if we hire a current NFL person.
Just find the “right [NFL] guy” Jeff, would ya?