The Philadelphis Eagles have just hired Oregon head coach Chip Kelly as their new head coach. Kelly becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season. He had a 46-7 record over 4 years at Oregon and was interviewed by the Browns and Bills after winning the Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State. Kelly made the announcement he would stay at Oregon after those interviews, but somehow Eagles owner Jeffrey Lourie managed to change his mind. “Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” Lurie said in a statement. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team.”
The Eagles are known to have interviewed 11 candidates, including two meetings with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Philadelphia has won just 12 games the two seasons, after winning the NFC East in 2010. Kelly re-emerged as a candidate recently and an agreement was just reached Wednesday morning, league sources told ESPN. Oregon has scheduled a press conference this afternoon to discuss “news,” as it moves past the Kelly era. Time will tell why things changed. Perhaps Kelly simply had a change of heart. Perhaps the Eagles sweetened the deal enough to make Kelly reconsider. Maybe Kelly’s deal to stay at Oregon wasn’t quite what he hoped. But whatever the reason, this has to be a gratifying moment for the Eagles organization. Regardless of what the Eagles have previously said about having no regrets after pursuing three college head coaches, Kelly was their top choice all along. Now they have him.
Kelly will bring an innovative, up-tempo offense to the NFL. First question for Kelly: Will he keep Michael Vick? That Eagles offense is going to include a lot of change of direction and unpredictability. Kelly has shown that skill set. I’m not sure what the Kelly era in Philly is going to hold, but Eagles fans are ready for a change and a new season. Bring on 2013