Get whipped 42-14 and what's your prize? An interview for a job at your field's highest level. At least that's the case if you are Notre Dame's Brian Kelly.
Kelly, as ESPN reported, interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles coaching vacancy the day after his Fighting Irish team was bludgeoned by Alabama.
In the grand scheme of things, this is the world of college football coaching and Kelly's flirtation with the Eagles is a necessary evil.
Kelly's team got thoroughly embarrassed by Nick Saban's bunch. He practically waved the white flag on national television during his halftime interview.
Monday night, as a whole, did not inspire confidence. The feelings around him and the Irish program, from a perception standpoint, were not as rosy as they had been just 24 hours before.
People are dissecting the loss, questioning his coaching decisions and wondering why his team was not prepared.
Then, word "leaks" that Kelly interviewed with the Eagles.
The conversation changes from questioning his abilities to hoping that the man who took the Irish to heights they have not seen in decades, returns to South Bend.
This isn't an accident, folks. This is a calculated strategy, not just to get an extension, but to change the conversation and get some good vibes flowing back into the program.
Positive aura is a plus because Kelly has to be out recruiting, working to insure that all that elite talent he's amassed on his commitment list ends up signing letters of intent on signing day. For those kids, it is clear their coach is desired by the league and they are going to play for a guy that knows what he's doing.
We saw it with Chip Kelly (Browns, Eagles and Bills) and we've seen it with Bill O'Brien (Browns and Eagles) this offseason. Flirting with the NFL is not a negative because when you come back, you return a hero. Will they end up in the league? Probably at some point, but for the time being they are back with their respective programs, and they have manufactured a new excitement.
Brian Kelly is no dummy. His flirtation with the Eagles shifts the discussion from his terrible performance, to the Irish needing to make sure they retain him. He is building a winner and after getting a look at what a champion performs like, expect him to adjust his formula accordingly.
Crisis averted before most folks even knew it existed. Turn your eyes to recruiting and Kelly continuing to build towards the ultimate goal—a national championship.
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