SBD/January 17, 2013/Franchises

Eagles' Hire Of Chip Kelly Seen As Move That Could Excite Disgruntled Fan Base

The Eagles yesterday hired Univ. of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, and "within the confines of the current moment, Kelly is a great hire for the Eagles," according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. It is "hard to imagine how they could have done any better." The hiring of Kelly is a "triumph of persistence by the organization, and news about which its increasingly disgruntled fan base has good reason to be excited." Graziano: "I believe this is a football decision by the Eagles first and foremost. I am confident that [Owner] Jeffrey Lurie and [GM] Howie Roseman have selected the man they believe is right to lead their team into the post-Andy Reid future, and that public relations was not the most important thing on their minds when they decided to go back and do whatever they did this week to convince Kelly to change his mind." But if "you think P.R. is no factor at all, then you haven't been paying attention to the Eagles the past couple of years." A team that has "averaged 10 wins a year and made the playoffs in nine of the past 13 seasons has nonetheless engendered strongly negative feelings among its own fan base." Lurie "believes he's running one of the best franchises in the league and doesn't like the idea that the fans dislike the team." Graziano: "So you'd better believe that one of the things on Lurie's mind throughout this process has been the impression the ultimate decision would make among Eagles fans." In "that respect, he's hit a home run" (ESPN.com, 1/16).

NO LOVE: In Philadelphia, Sam Donnellon writes Kelly's hiring "is not bold" and "is not a risky move." The truth is "Kelly is Lurie's safest bet, at least from a public-relations standpoint." When the NFL season ended, Kelly was "the most coveted coach out there." Donnellon: "We know only this: Either way, he will make a big splash." After "more than a decade of fool's gold and unfulfilled promise, that's the best Jeffrey Lurie has to offer right now" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/17). Also in Philadelphia, Phil Sheridan writes by hiring the "latest offensive genius from the college ranks, Lurie has turned his franchise into a laboratory." It could be "fantastic and entertaining and lead, finally, to a Super Bowl title." It just as easily "could be a disaster." The only thing "we can be reasonably sure of is that it won't be boring" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/17).

BEARING DOWN: The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES writes Bears' GM Phil Emery "diligently navigated the franchise-defining process" of hiring of CFL Toronto Argonauts coach Marc Trestman for the same position. Emery despite "stiff competition ... laid out an ambitious plan and seemingly avoided any major setbacks or issues." A source said, "He was as thorough as anyone I've ever heard of" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/17). YAHOO SPORTS' Michael Silver wrote "in a vacuum, there is reason for the Trestman and Kelly hires to be celebrated." So many NFL franchises are "unimaginative when it comes to choosing coaches that when two of them take chances on men who aren't among the usual suspects, it's refreshing." Yet a "look at the larger landscape highlights a depressing overtone." More than "ever before, NFL teams are looking for offensive gurus as head coaches -- and the pool from which they're choosing is almost exclusively white" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/16).
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