Johnson: Bad Career Move, Chip Kelly
Posted Jan 17, 2013

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 it.