Johnson: Bad Career Move, Chip Kelly
CFN's Terry Johnson weighs in on Chip Kelly's unexpected departure for the NFL.
By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball
Chip Kelly made a poor career choice by bolting for the NFL.
Let's be honest: Kelly transformed Oregon into arguably the second-best program
in the country. During his four seasons in Eugene, he compiled a 46-7 record with
three conference championships. More impressively, under Kelly's leadership, the
Ducks finished with more BCS bowl bids (four) than Pac 12 losses (three).
In fact, the only thing that he didn't do at UO was win a national championship. But
with most of his top players returning in the fall, there was no reason to believe that
the Ducks wouldn't play for all the marbles this year after coming up just one game
short in each of the last two seasons.
Rather than compete for a crystal football, Kelly put his head on the proverbial
chopping block. While it makes sense that he would want the opportunity to
succeed at football's highest level, it's tough to say if his offense will work in the
pros. As Steve Spurrier and Greg Schiano learned the hard way, NFL defenses are
noticeably bigger, faster, and stronger than they are in college. And while the read
option has become more mainstream in pro ball, it's only a matter of time before
defensive coordinators make the tactic as obsolete as the run-and-shoot.
It's worth noting that some college football experts are suggesting that Kelly's
unexpected departure for the NFL is because he knows that the NCAA is about to
severely punish the Oregon football program. Even if that's true - a big if considering
the extremely lenient sentences that Ohio State and North Carolina received
- moving to the pros wouldn't make his situation any better. College coaches
can survive a subpar season or two, especially if they've won a few conference
championships. On the other hand, most NFL head coaches receive their walking
papers before getting a chance to right the ship. Just ask Mike Mularkey.
Regardless of his motivation(s) for leaving, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure
out that Kelly will end up looking for another job in the very near future. When he
does, he will have a very hard time finding another program like Oregon, where he
would have had next-level talent, unlimited resources, and one of the most rabid fan
bases in the country.
In other words, he'll realize that he had his dream job but chose to walk away from