Chip Kelly Fired by 49ers: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Scott PolacekFeatured Columnist

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers watches his team warm up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Chip Kelly's tenure with the San Francisco 49ers ended after just one season following Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks

The 49ers officially announced they have fired both Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke on Sunday. Jed York, the 49ers owner, spoke about the decision in the team's release:

I have informed Trent and Chip of my decision to pursue new leadership for our football team. These types of conversations are never easy, especially when they involve people you respect personally and professionally.

[...]

Chip has my gratitude for the job he did this year, navigating the team through some adverse circumstances. I look forward to watching his career continue to unfold, and wish him and Jill great success in life.

Despite my feelings for Trent and Chip, I felt the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary. The performance of this team has not lived up to my expectations or those of our fans, and that is truly disappointing. We all expected to see this team progress and develop as the season went on, but unfortunately that did not happen. That is why now is the time to find a new direction for this team.

ESPN's Adam Schefter initially reported Saturday the 49ers were expected to part with Kelly amid some big changes, including Baalke's dismissal. On Monday, Schefter revealed on ESPN's SportsCenter that the 49ers still owe Kelly and former coaches $69 million.

Michael Silver of NFL.com reported Sunday that following the reports of Kelly's firing, the head coach called 49ers owner Jed York, noting it was "not a warm and fuzzy conversation."

Kelly said York did not inform him Baalke had been fired prior to Sunday's game against the Seahawks, per Kevin Jones of KNBR. Kelly met with York following the game, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

San Francisco hired Kelly after he spent three seasons as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He finished a combined 20-12 in his first two campaigns in the City of Brotherly Love and reached the playoffs in his first year, but he went just 6-9 in 2015. The Eagles fired him before the Week 17 game that season.

Philadelphia's downturn under Kelly was about more than the record.

Kevin Patra of NFL.com wrote: "It all came crashing down on Kelly in 2015 after he wrestled personnel control away from the front office. Several of his headline-making moves backfired, including shipping LeSean McCoy out of town and signing DeMarco Murray."

Kelly entered the NFL after leading the Oregon Ducks to a BCS Championship Game appearance and a 46-7 record over four years behind a high-octane offensive attack that relied on an uptempo pace.

That no-huddle approach appeared to work in the NFL in the early going, but defenses adjusted and limited its effectiveness.

To be fair, Kelly wasn't working with a loaded 49ers roster. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took them to Super Bowl XLVII in his prime, but he played just nine games in 2015 and threw six touchdowns and five interceptions. He wasn't the same playmaker he was when the 49ers were winning, and that continued under Kelly.

It wasn't just Kaepernick, as Blaine Gabbert started the first five games of the 2016 season and struggled to a 1-4 record. Gabbert has never lived up to the billing that came with being the No. 10 overall pick in 2011 and didn't operate Kelly's attack at full efficiency.

San Francisco's offense ranks 27th in points scored and 29th in yards gained, though Kaepernick has been better this season with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 games as the starter. 

The defense struggled as well, ranking last in yards allowed and points allowed en route to a 2-14 record. 

Ultimately, Kelly was seen as an offensive innovator when he came into the league but has struggled to replicate his early success. The 49ers haven't made the playoffs since 2013, and things didn't get any better under Kelly's watch.