The 2015 Eagles football season is about to begin.
Boy, it took a long long time coming. It has been a roller coaster ride, and a trip through a house of horrors, but we finally know. We know the many moves coach Chip Kelly made to find and select his 2015 Philadelphia Eagles 53 man roster. For better or worse, its Chip’s team.
And win or lose, now it’s our team!
At the time, many of those moves seemed to be foolhardy if not down right outrageous. When Kelly traded away Nick Foles plus a draft choice for Sam Bradford, much of Philadelphia did what they often do. . they booed. . loudly!!
But now, with the season about to begin, all but a few diehard skeptics applaud the trade. And, because of it, and many other bold and unusual moves by Kelly, the city is filled with an excitement and anticipation the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Dick Vermeil.
The season may turn out to be heaven or hell. But, with Chip in charge, it is bound to be new, different, and exciting.
Many members of the press have called Chip a football genius. Others say he is just a college coach who will not make the grade in the NFL. Most agree that he has what it takes to be a very good coach. Further, his astute wheeling-and-dealing have convinced the fans that he is a worthy general manager.
When asked, the former Redskins/Texans general manager Charley Casserly said “His strengths as a coach were personnel evaluation, motivation and discipline. He also had a clear vision of what he wanted the program to look like.”
Of course, Casserly was not describing Chip Kelly. He was talking about one James William Johnson, the winner of a national NCAA championship, as well as two Super Bowls. We know him as Jimmy Johnson. Yes, that Jimmy Johnson !! But Casserly might just as well have been evaluating the skill set of coach Kelly.
That first season as Cowboys head coach, Jimmy watched Dallas lose 15 games out of 16. The only big name player he had was Herschel Walker. At the end of that disastrous season, Jimmy traded Herschel away! (When we think of LeSean McCoy it all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)
The city of Dallas was ready to lynch Jimmy. But we all know what happened next. Two, count them, two, back to back Super Bowl championships soon followed.
It is little wonder that in the last few months Chip has called on Jimmy often to ask for his input. And, we have been told, that Jimmy has supported almost every big decision that Chip has made.
No one has referred to Jimmy Johnson as a genius. In fact, he is still waiting to get into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. And, even though we Eagle fans hate the Dallas Cowboys, I hope Jimmy makes it in, don’t you? He has earned it.
While Johnson was a head coach, he never spent even one Thanksgiving with his family. Nor did he enjoy a single Christmas, or exchange gifts with his wife and children. Football was his everything. And it took everything, including his first wife, from him. Perhaps we should be grateful that Chip is unmarried. Because he works with the same passion for the game that Jimmy did.
The coach they named the Super Bowl trophy after, said this : “Football is like life. It requires perseverance, self denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.” ( Vince Lombardi )
Coach Lombardi never said that the head coach had to be a genius. As far as I know, Jimmy has never said it either. But the other qualities that are indeed required : dedication, sacrifice, hard work etc., coach Kelly has in abundance.
So . . is Chip Kelly a genius? Maybe not. But I would not worry about it. Instead, Eagles fans, fasten your seat belts. The season is about to start and we are in for one helluva ride baby!!