Chip Kelly may change the way the NFL thinks about going for two


During his tenure as Oregon’s head coach, Chip Kelly did something routinely that no NFL coach has done in nearly 15 years: He went for two-point conversions in the first quarter.

Now that Kelly is head coach of the Eagles, he may change the way NFL teams view the two-point conversion — if he continues to use the same strategy he used at Oregon, and if he’s successful.

In five of Oregon’s 13 games last season, the Ducks tried for a two-point conversion after scoring their first touchdown. Three of those five two-point tries were successful, and two were unsuccessful. When the Ducks didn’t go for two, they often sent out their field goal/PAT unit and had them line up in a trick-play formation, shifting into the standard kick formation only after seeing if the defense appeared ready to stop the play they planned to run.

Kelly’s approach to two-point conversions — trying them after taking a 6-0 lead, rather than only trying them late in the game when the “chart” says they should — is unheard of in the NFL. According to Aaron Schatz of, the last time a team tried for a two-point conversion in the first quarter (other than on bad snaps or fumbled holds when the team initially planned to kick the extra point) was in 1998. And even that play was done in an attempt to chase points by a team that had just scored a touchdown to narrow the deficit from 14-6 to 14-12 and wanted to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

In the 2012 season, teams only tried for two-point conversions in the first half four times. Three of those four teams did it after a touchdown narrowed the deficit from 14-6 to 14-12 in the second quarter, and the fourth was a trick play run by Bears holder Adam Podlesh.

Even in the third quarter, two-point tries are very rare: Only twice in 2012 did a team go for two in the third quarter. All 32 NFL teams treated two-point conversions as something you try only when you need to.

But that’s not the case with Kelly. Kelly’s view is that a two-point conversion at the start of the game is a great way to extend an early lead and make your opponent chase points later in the game. And at Oregon, it often worked. If Kelly doesn’t lose his nerve with the Eagles, he may become the first coach since the NFL introduced two-point conversions in 1994 to make going for two a routine part of the game plan, not a special play that’s broken out in an emergency.

The NFL is a copycat league, so if it works for Kelly and the Eagles, it won’t be long before other coaches begin to emulate him. It’s possible that we’ll start to see NFL teams go for two a lot more often. If so, Kelly will have made the NFL more fun.

76 responses to “Chip Kelly may change the way the NFL thinks about going for two

  1. Hard to say if it’ll work against a more experienced NFL defense…if it does it can certainly put the other team on their heals!

  2. As soon as the Eagles lose by one point in a game that Kelly unsuccessfully tried for a two-point conversion in the first quarter, that will be the end of that.

  3. I just cant wait to see what style he uses playing in the Nfc East dealing with all the speed ends the three divisional rivals have.

    Overall this is the nice just because the Eagles have skills players to fit any scheme, I am anxious to see who he hires as a defensive coordinator and if he appoints someone as the offensive coordinator or is the Head Coach/offensive coordinator.

  4. Big difference going for two in the first quarter against the New York Giants and doing it against Washington State or Colorado.

    You don’t go for two until the fourth quarter.

  5. I don’t think he’ll be playing a similar schedule in the NFL. You know, like the top college schools typically play in the beginning of the season, the little no name d2 schools? But maybe you think they’ll be playing the CFL Chcago Bears?

  6. He’s not in Oregon anymore. The NFL will eat him alive if he thinks he’s going to school them. Nick Saban didn’t succeed, nor Spurrier. He might just crap out

  7. “Chip Kelly may change the way the NFL thinks about going for two”


    The NFL may change the way Chip Kelly thinks about going for two

  8. People can say that they’re smarter than Chip Kelly, but they’d be wrong. No coach in the history of the league is as witty, innovative, nor possesses as much pure knowledge of the game as Chip Kelly.

    What makes him great aren’t his schemes, it’s his ability to adapt.

    After leading the best offense in the NCAA at New Hampshire, they said he couldn’t make the transition from Division I-AA to coaching Division I at Oregon.

    When Chip Kelly leads Dream Team 3.0 to multiple Superbowls, the rest of the league will accept him as the new age Vince Lombardi.

  9. this is how i know this is going to go terribly.

    I could be wrong.
    Gimmicks and “deleware wing T” schemes might be the wave of the future… of the 80’s….. of highschool football playbooks….

    the muddle huddle? are you serious?
    teams that go for two are either serious ground and pound ‘you cant stop us’ suqads,, or they dont have a kicker..

    You let Gus Bradley walk, a no nonsense defensive stud with a top notch pedigree

    and signed a school yard gimmick, fad devoted offensive mind?

  10. After almost 15 years of big red and morninweigs ” vanilla” offensive play calling, this is a breath of fresh air to say the least

    Whether it works with this guy or not, the city of Philadelphia can at least rest easy that we don’t have to watch big red on the sideline, or ah hem…in a press conference again…ah hem

  11. NFL defenses are so fast, it’s hard to imagine Kelly trying too many2 point conversions in the 1st quarter. You lose a handful of games in that manner, and you’ll lose your job just as fast…

  12. I think the NFL has more of a chance to change Kelly. The officials are not going to spot the ball as quickly and allow the same pace of play he had in college. Not a chance. Period. Welcome to the NFL Chip.

  13. If it makes the NFL more fun, the NFL front office will intervene to stop it.

  14. Well if you look at it statistically all you have to do is believe that you have at least a 50% chance to convert to justify going for two, and a successful NFL offense should be able to pick up 2 yards at least half the time.

  15. “Three of those five two-point tries were successful, and two were unsuccessful.”

    I’m so glad you can count!

  16. Can you imagine when one of his stylistic things goes wrong and he has to face the Philly media and fans?

    Great theater for the rest of us.

  17. I’m more interested in seeing if he can change the way NFL teams run their offenses. Will he be able to make the Eagles run the super fast no huddle the way the Ducks and the Patriots do?

  18. What’s the typical success/failure rate for 2-pt conversions? If Chip can get it up to 60% or better for the Eagles, hey, go for it. Makes the NFL more interesting.

    Certainly will make betting on squares more interesting!

  19. Enough with the spurrier and Saban comments, they both went to teams with inferior talent and front offices. Lets just wait and see.

  20. I still don’t believe that the Eagles signed Chip Kelly. To me, it looks like the Eagles simply shaved Andy’s stache, slapped a non-p.c. synonym for happy visor on his head and resigned him.

  21. Just another college coach doing what college coaches do these days – lying through their teeth.

    Did he leave a note in the Oregon locker room for his players? “Hey guys, sorry I said I was coming back – I was only lying to gain leverage in contract negotiations. Godspeed.”

    He’ll flame out in the pros and head back to where he belongs in a few years.

  22. I’m getting sick of they eagle fans hating on the hiring of chip Kelly he’s or our coach now whether you like it or not so get on board and show some support or pick a new team

  23. Before he has to worry about the PAT he better figure out how to get the 6 points.

    Until that is solved the 2 or 1 will not mean much

  24. I disagree, I don’t think people will even be bothered by it, going for two when you are down 34-6 in the 3rd quarter will hardly be noticed.

  25. You know, it’s not a bad strategy. Low risk, high reward if you score first.

    If you don’t make it you’re still up 2 FGs. That’s pretty low risk, especially early in the game.

    If you make it you’re instantly up 2 scores minimum. That’s a pretty high reward to have that instant advantage.

    The danger comes from doing it so often you have no element of surprise.

  26. j0esixpack says: Jan 16, 2013 7:01 PM

    If you make it you’re instantly up 2 scores minimum. That’s a pretty high reward to have that instant advantage.
    Well, it’s up by one score if the opposing team also converts a 2 point play.

  27. It’s pretty silly to assume whatever the guy did in college he’s going to come in and try to do in the NFL. In college his team was the heavy favorite in a lot of games, so trick plays were a little easier to do. I’ve noticed many underestimate his intelligence, as if he is unaware his Oregon teams have played against slower defenses than he will face in the NFL or he plans on calling identical plays.

  28. How about we find out if he can coach NFL style before we start claiming he can change the league.

  29. justwinbaby29 says:

    You don’t go for two until the fourth quarter.
    I don’t recall seeing that on the tablets Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai. I also doubt that Coach Kelly much cares what some fan of a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade thinks of his ideas.

    My opinion (which also counts for nothing) is that Kelly wants teams around the league to start overthinking about what he plans to do.

  30. I do this in Madden all the time. Forces the other team to have to go for it to try to keep up.

    Go Niners


    This ain’t the Pac-12 with a weak USC team…

    Good luck Kelly with the QB’s in Philly….


    NFL Defenses

  32. There are two sure-fire ways to give hard earned momentum right away. One, kick a surprise onsides and the other team isnt fooled. Go for two for no reason and watch your RB get dropped for a 2 yd loss. When my G-Men play the Eegs 2x a year, I’ll pray that stache-less Reid with a visor goes for 2.

  33. Don’t know how good his kickers in Oregon were, but in general I have the impression that extra-point kicks in college games are not as automatic as they are in the NFL. Seems like a lot more of them get missed at the college level. This makes going for 2, especially with a dynamic offense, a safer move than it would be in the NFL.

    Though I think it could work in the NFL, there’s the problem of everyone playing not to lose. It’s trendy to claim the NFL is getting “wimpy” because of Goodell’s discipline or new rules, but really, the monetary stakes are so high for teams and coaches that almost everyone is playing so timidly to avoid screwing up, and the result is predictability. (Exhibit A: having one of the greatest QBs in history take a knee with 31 seconds left in the game instead of trying to win.)

    It’s what makes the Patriots refreshing, honestly. They play to win. And this year, with changing styles on display in Washington, Seattle, and San Fran, even though those are partially desperation moves, at least they’re teams trying something different.

  34. More likely that Kelly changes the way teams think about going for it on 4th down than changes the way they think about going for 2. Kelly went for it on fourth down a ton in college, and the statistics back it up as a sound strategy.

  35. So everybody that has watched one Oregon game in there life suddenly knows that Chip Kelly will fail and be fired in season (and we all thank you for regurgitating everything they say on ESPN), you guys are probably right you can’t run a spread option in the NFL, so go home Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and RG3 I guess you guys didn’t get the memo.

  36. I am in favor of the nfl just getting rid of kicking extra points altogether and having teams go for 2 points every time. There was a time in which the extra point wasn’t so automatic but now it more or less is. Think about how many times you don’t even pay attention to the extra point now too – it would just add to the excitement of the game.

  37. Da-Her Da-Her Da-Her (retard voice) “Yea the Eagles wont win a game or even score a TD” Da-Her Da-Her Da-Her Durrrrrrr! Everyone thought Pete Carroll would fail. Maybe 2nd times a charm? This Kelly dude jerks off to football. If he doesnt do well, then maybe he should stop.

  38. If you think Chip Kelly is going to school NFL Coaches your Dreaming. When he fails on the first attempt and the other teams scores a TD and now they trail by 1 then will be forced to go for it again. So the element of surprise is gone and he won’t be putting up 50 points a game in the NFL. When Eagles lose a division game or 2 by 1 or 2 points he will feel the wrath of the Philly crowd and it will stop.

  39. If Kelly is so smart why did he break the rules at Oregon? Remember there’s no 90 man roster in the NFL and you have Vick as your QB. Also you have Desean “Glass House” Jackson and Michael “Don’t Hit Me” Vick and with no OL they won’t be running to many crazy plays when the QB is running for his life.

  40. This is going to be an unmitigated disaster. Hopefully the high draft picks for the next 3 years will set-up the next coach.

  41. I would also like to see him go for more 1 point safeties.

    And if the defense is as inept as it was last year just go for the onside kick every time. Who cares where the other team starts from if they are gonna score anyway?

  42. There is a reason its considered the “toughest three yards in football.” The field is 13 yards long so the box is always stacked, and no stretch for speedy receivers. If an offense has personnel and plays to consistently attack that scenario successfully, it’s less of a gamble. I see less reward for first quarter 2’s in the NFL, and correspondingly less risk, because offenses are more dynamic and can easily discount early deficits. Of course a bevy of strong 3 yard plays can only help any team.

  43. When Chip Kelly leads Dream Team 3.0 to multiple Superbowls



    He couldn’t even lead the quacks to a winning BCS record (he was 2-2) and when he met a stout NCAA defense (which he will in the NFL weekly) he folded like a Walmart lawn chair!

  44. This is so basically easily defensed on the NFL level I can do it from my desk….

    Chances of blocking a PAT are maybe 1%…it’s considered a ‘give me’… there is really no need to line up the Special Teams squad at all with any team on defense.

    All the opposing team has to do is go with a base defense on the PAT every time the Eagles score a TD.

    The PAT , if kicked will still be, at least, in the 99% completion range ( who knows….maybe a base defense might still get through…they ARE your best players) .

    And if the Eagles try a 2ptC opponent is always prepared once the bring the regular offense out after a TD.

    Chip Kelly’s secret weapon solved. LOL.

  45. Pile on you noble Eagles fans. Sure, stuff Chip will try at the NFL level may not work. If it doesn’t he will evaluate it, change it or abandon it. But he’s not stupid. He understands probabilities, and if he can find an edge – he goes for it.
    Don’t expect him to keep trying to do things the “NFL way” – tell me how much success the Eagles have had doing it the same ‘ol same ‘ol. Rather than more of the same – sit back and enjoy the ride!
    Win lose or draw, there’s nothing more exciting and entertaining than a Chip Kelly coached football game.

  46. I didn’t watch the game so obviously I don’t know how the game ended. However, looking at the score, the two point attempt seemed to make sense. They lost by 10, with the two points they’re down by 8. For the sake of argument, if they have the ball on the last possession of the game, they can tie with a TD and another conversion. Then they go to OT and win, hypothetically.

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