Well, how about that? After reports surfaced earlier this month that Chip Kelly would return to Oregon after being seriously courted by NFL teams, he has apparently reversed course and will now reportedly become the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
That dull roar of joy you hear in the background is all of Philadelphia rejoicing. Chris Mortensen of ESPN had the scoop:
Chip Kelly is the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, according to league sources. No announcement yet.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013
That news has since been confirmed, and Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly passes along the following statement from owner Jeffrey Lurie:
Jeff Lurie: "“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles. He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team ...— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) January 16, 2013
"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.”— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) January 16, 2013
If you are like me, this news probably comes as a pretty huge shock. We need more information.
We start with Albert Breer of the NFL Network, who reports Kelly is on his way to Philadelphia:
Sounds like Kelly may be flying to Philly now. Pretty unbelievable. Great perseverance by Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Co.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 16, 2013
Meanwhile, Mike Freeman of CBS has an interesting tidbit about the amount of personnel control Kelly will likely have in Philly:
Source says Chip Kelly is indeed head coach of the Eagles. ESPN was first to report this. I'm told Kelly got large amount of personnel say.— mike freeman (@realfreemancbs) January 16, 2013
If that is true, what will become of general manager Howie Roseman?
Part of the shock about this hiring is that it looked to be a certainty that Kelly was returning to Oregon. His return was reported everywhere. But as Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated notes, the key word there is "reported":
Now it seems noteworthy that Kelly himself NEVER said he was staying. It was all "reports."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 16, 2013
Then again, Kelly did little to dispute those reports. As Kent Somers of AZCentral.com notes, the former Oregon coach pulled a trick out of his playbook during this process:
Nice read option play by Chip Kelly. made everyone take the eye off the ball.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) January 16, 2013
Meanwhile, Will Brinson of CBS applauds Kelly's negotiating tactics with the Eagles:
You know what they say about how the best negotiation tactic is walking away? Well done Chip Kelly.— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) January 16, 2013
We return to Breer, who points out one of the biggest misconceptions about the NFL's interest in Kelly—that it's only about the offensive scheme:
Big thing on Chip Kelly -- NFL's pursuit of him isn't about offensive scheme, it's about his ability to innovate, adapt and build a program.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 16, 2013
After a long, long time with Andy Reid at the helm, Philly fans are ready for a new direction and a bit of excitement. The Reid regime had gotten stale and predictable.
And that's why, like most of Philadelphia right now, ESPN's Kevin Negandhi is excited by this hire:
I gotta say I love how the Eagles and Chip Kelly just shocked everybody. Hope it's a sign of things to come. I'm done with predictable.— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) January 16, 2013
Wait, did somebody say Andy Reid? Uh oh, ESPN's Darren Rovell must have heard you and passed along this:
darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 16, 2013
It should be noted, however, that not everyone is excited or entertained by this news. Remember, Kelly is leaving Oregon with the recruiting season nearing its frenzied end. Oregon target Nico Falah tweeted this out when he heard the news:
Chip Kelly left?!?! He was at my house 2 days ago 😥— Nics ✌ (@NicoFalah) January 16, 2013
Hey, that's the business of college football, kid—you'll get used to it.
Kelly was long thought to be a favorite of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and this hiring will certainly invigorate a fanbase that was left disappointed by a dreadful 2012 season and a head-coaching search that had been marked by the team's top targets rejecting the franchise.
Now, we know that is no longer the case.
Make no mistake about it, there are plenty of questions surrounding this hire. Will Kelly's up-tempo system work in the NFL? Does this mean Michael Vick will return at quarterback? Who will Kelly hire as his defensive coordinator, now the most important member of Kelly's staff?
But for now, Eagles fans will likely soak this in and enjoy Wednesday's biggest news. A new era has officially begun for the Philadelphia Eagles.