Eagles Signing Tim Tebow Is All About Chip Kelly's Giant Ego

Mike FreemanNFL National Lead WriterApril 19, 2015

Joe Camporeale/USA Today

If there was an Ego Olympics, a man named Chip Kelly would win it.

If you don't think the incredible, the staggering, the stunning, the insane, the eye-popping signing of Tim Tebow by the Eagles—a signing coming after the entire NFL deemed Tebow unfit for NFL duty—then you don't know football. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports broke the news on Sunday that Tebow was heading to Philadelphia.

People will say Tebow deserves another chance. He got his chance in Denver. Eventually failed. He got his chance with the Jets. Failed. The Patriots…failed. That last stop is important because I know Bill Belichick wanted desperately for Tebow to succeed. But he wasn't good enough.

That is the lone fact with Tebow. He won't be good enough. But he's here. He's back. We will see the same guy throwing off-target floaters and not seeing blitzes, but aw, hell, here he is anyway.

There has never been a human being with more lives than Tim Tebow. Cats look at Tebow with wonder and admiration because he has more lives than they do. Michael Sam wishes he had just one of Tebow's lives.

Tebow is a Fast and Furious movie.

There are two big things here. First is Tebow himself, his return. Descended from the football chariots above. More on that in a moment.

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

This story is also about ego. Chip Kelly's ego. Make no mistake about that. This is a total ego move by a megalomaniac, egotistical coach.

Is Chip Kelly talented? Yes. Does Chip Kelly think he's the smartest guy in the room? Hell yes.

The Eagles will downplay this signing, saying Tebow is just a body for the offseason. But this move is more than that for Kelly. What Kelly likes to do is prove conventional NFL wisdom wrong. No one enjoys this more than him.

Kelly's been able to do some impressive things, but in two years, Kelly still has zero playoff wins. So he's not a genius just yet—even though he thinks he is.

If Tebow survives, makes it to training camp and then makes the roster, and somehow gets into a game. And then somehow does well. (All tremendous "ifs" as in if I was good at math, I'd be an astronaut.) If all of that happens, then we will all see Kelly as a genius. He turned Tebow's career around. He did it. Not even Belichick could do that.

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

And yes, Belichick signing Tebow was an ego move as well. Except Belichick has rings. Many rings. Lots of rings over decades of NFL coaching. He's earned that fat ego.

You know who once didn't want Tebow on his team? A guy named Chip Kelly. From 2011: “I look for a quarterback who can run and not a running back who can throw. I want a quarterback who can beat you with his arm. We are not a Tim Tebow type of quarterback team. I am not going to run my quarterback 20 times on power runs.”

So what changed? Kelly's ego got larger. He wants to be known as the guy who fixes Tebow. That's what changed.

Make no mistake: Kelly's hubris is definitely in play here. The only egos bigger than player egos are coach egos. Coaches' egos are larger than those of heads of state, movie stars and even sports journalists. Especially college coaches who believe they are rulers of empires. Kelly is not so far removed from coaching in college and his ego could envelop a solar system.

Kelly worked out Tebow fairly recently. The issue seemed dead (though I said in a B/R video at the time to look out for Tebow ending up there). I always believed Tebow remained in Kelly's thoughts because Kelly wants to be known as the fixer.

In one way, the Tebow signing is a good example of why a franchise shouldn't give final personnel say to coaches. Especially third-year coaches like Kelly. Kelly has invited a circus to his neighborhood. There will be elephants and tigers and magicians and peanuts. It will be a mess and sometimes messy is good. In this case, there will be a mess of media and stories but little payoff.

Because Tebow can't play in the NFL at quarterback.

Fullback? Sure. Tight end? Possibly.

I know what some of you will say: Why not? Take a shot. Maybe Tebow has changed and gotten better after years of training and working his craft. That's just not reality. That is a dream or a function of ego. A function of, "I'm Chip Kelly and I can rebuild him."

This is reality. According to ESPN, only one quarterback in the last 10 seasons (with at least 250 minimum pass attempts) has thrown for less than a 50 percent completion percentage, and that's Tebow at 47.9. Other names on that miserable list: Ryan Lindley (50.8), Curtis Painter (51.6), and JaMarcus Russell (52.1).

Yes, Tebow is more inaccurate with the football than Mr. Purple Drank himself.

So here we go. He's back.

Let the Ego Olympics begin. 

 

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.