Chip Kelly will get another coaching job in the NFL if he wants one.
But after watching owner Jeff Lurie’s press conference Wednesday, there will be one thing Kelly will have to prove able to overcome — for himself as much as future employers — if he wants to be successful.
As much as anything else Lurie said, saying he wanted his next coach to value “emotional intelligence” will go down as the epitaph on Kelly’s coaching career in Philadelphia.
Kelly thinks fast, and talks fast. He’s fascinated by science and technology.
But at its core, football remains a people business, and being able to maximize the personnel on hand has as much to do with massaging their egos as their muscles.
When running back DeMarco Murray talked to Lurie recently, much was made of the “broken promises.” That has as much with his role as a high-profile player (which he’d naturally think he was, given the contract he received) as the plays he was running. Football players may want to be led, but they also want to be valued, or their affection and attention will last as long as the good fortune it takes to win on a regular basis.
Such things that can’t be quantified seemed to matter little to Kelly, and it was clear the longer Lurie talked, the more of a problem that was within the organization.
As a result, the next coach of the Eagles seems likely to be a get-along guy, someone who can work within a framework (specifically, one created and administered by Howie Roseman). Or at least understand that the chess pieces he’s moving around the board have feelings and families attached to them.
So while it may have lacked the same fervor of Al Davis firing Lane Kiffin via overhead projector, having Lurie stand there so coolly explaining that Kelly’s failure was a human one was every bit as damning.
Again, Kelly won enough to make himself valuable to other franchises, particularly the kind who have perpetual openings.
But in his next stop, he might be better served if he’s able to better blend the art and the science of managing a roster of 53 men and the small army of other people that surround them.