Philadelphia Eagles: Chip Kelly Fiasco Shows Lurie & Company Are Just Guessing

Phil Keidel@@PhilKeidelContributor IIJanuary 7, 2013

The hits just keep on coming.
The hits just keep on coming.Al Bello/Getty Images

Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski—the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, his general manager and his team's president—flew to Arizona and met with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly for nine hours in an attempt to convince Kelly to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nine hours.

And it didn't work.

There are a number of takeaways from this fiasco, and none of them reflect too well on the Eagles. Nor should any of them instill a lot of confidence in the owner, the general manager or the team president.

First, Kelly's "thanks but no thanks" cuts the legs out from under Lurie's assessment that the job he has to offer is the best job in the league.

As he was firing Andy Reid, Lurie said this according to the Associated Press: "I'm very confident that this is the most attractive place for a head coach to work in the National Football League."

Kelly did not think so, and he is not alone. Bill O'Brien interviewed with the Eagles as well, but like Kelly he chose to go back where he came from rather than work at Lurie's "most attractive" job in the NFL, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of

Second, the days since Reid's termination (and subsequent quick hiring by the Kansas City Chiefs) suggest that Lurie, Roseman and Smolenski fired Reid without any real plan as to how to replace him.

As Zach Berman's blog for the Philadelphia Inquirer illustrates, the Eagles have interviewed or had rumored interest in 10—TEN—different men to fill their suddenly-unpalatable head coaching job.

The way the Eagles flew cross-country to woo Kelly as they did had a whiff of desperation to it, and that desperation is still in the air.

The Eagles will end up hiring somebody. But by the time Lurie holds his press conference to introduce his new head coach, any pretense of the hire being Lurie's "first choice" will have long since evaporated.

Which leads to the third and final point: In retrospect, maybe Lurie's hiring of Andy Reid, questioned at the time but ultimately proven to be a wise move, had less to do with Lurie's acumen as an owner and more to do with dumb luck.

Maybe Lurie has been exposed as unprepared in his haste to put the Reid era in the past the day after the embarrassment of a 4-12 season ended.

Because there is no good reason that the Eagles' search for a new head coach should have come down to this unsavory grasping for anyone who will talk to them.

The Eagles knew, or should have known, that Reid would be fired well before the season was over. Any of the four losses in November, which plunged the Eagles from 3-4 and in the hunt to 3-8 and dead in the water, would have been fine times to decide to move on from Reid.

And that is when Lurie and his underlings needed to be putting together a fail-safe plan for getting Reid's replacement in line.

Instead, you get the owner, the general manager and the team president flying across the country to spend nine hours with the guy who coaches the Oregon Ducks.

Who promptly says "no."

Maybe there is no need to panic, but there surely is not a lot of cause for optimism, either.

The Eagles seem headed toward choosing their new head coach based on the first guy who says "yes."

And that is pretty sad, when you think about it.