Philadelphia Eagles Fire Chip Kelly Ending His Tumultuous Tenure


The Philadelphia Eagles fired Chip Kelly with one week remaining in the NFL season. The Eagles fired Kelly for refusing to give up his player personnel role in the organization, according to NFL insiders and SBNation. Eagles owner Jeffry Lurie hadn’t decided Kelly’s future as recently as last week. But after Lurie’s final meeting of the season with Kelly, the change was made. Lurie said in a statement to the media, “I [decided] to release Chip Kelly this evening.” He added, “I spent the last three seasons evaluating the many factors involved in our performance as a team.” Lurie told the media that as the Eagles season unfolded, it was clear new team leadership was necessary.


The Downfall of Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly may be an innovative play-caller on the college level, but his time with the Eagles was a failure. First, Kelly struggled to communicate with his players. Then, as he gained more control over personnel within the organization, Kelly made several mistakes in judgment. As Head of Football Operations, Kelly allowed several players to walk out the door. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, Cary Williams, and two starting guards on the offensive line are no longer with the Eagles.

The Eagles’ signings of quarterback Sam Bradford and running backs Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray have not paid dividends. Plus, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, and cornerback Byron Maxwell have not played to preseason and off-season expectations. Even worse, most of the Kelly signings are no longer with the organization.

Philadelphia Inquisitor / RON CORTES / STAFF FILE PHOTO

Eagles Players Revolt

The Eagles initially showed progress during Kelly’s first season. But the Eagles were unable to win consistently under Kelly. Then rumors of player dissent began to leak to the media and among league circles. Ex-Eagles LeSean McCoy and Brandon Boykins said publicly that Kelly was not comfortable around Black players. Kelly typically led teenagers who followed directions, without question. Dealing with adult men, with their own opinions, especially from backgrounds you’re not familiar with is a recipe for disaster. The other common complaint heard about Chip Kelly is that relied too heavily on his collegiate offensive scheme. Kelly’s up-tempo offense caught defenses off-guard, but once opponents’ defenses adjusted, Kelly lacked creativity.

Coaches who make the transition from college to the NFL have a hard time keeping an open mind and pivoting strategies. The difference in talent from one team to another is vastly different in college as compared to the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles firing of Chip Kelly, another college coach, is not unique at the professional ranks. Kelly joins the list of recent college coaches fired before their first contracts expired. The list includes Steve Spurrier, Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban, and Lane Kiffin.