Chip Kelly did his due diligence and checked out what the NFL had to offer after leading the Oregon Ducks to a win in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. After interviews with the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, however, the Ducks’ head coach decided to stay put. The biggest winners of that decision are the Oregon Ducks.
Since taking over at Oregon, Kelly has taken the program to new heights, reaching four straight BCS bowls, including two Rose Bowl berths and a BCS National Championship game appearance, and winning the conference three times. Before Kelly, Oregon had been to four Rose Bowls and won seven conference championships in the entire history of the program. His three conference titles are as many as the program won from 1960 up until he was hired as head coach in 2009.
Kelly has also done wonders building up the brand of Oregon football as a college football power. He’s been able to go into the recruiting hotbeds all over the country and emerge with elite athletes that he is able to utilize in creative ways to push the limits of offensive firepower in Eugene. Under Kelly, the Ducks have become one of the most prolific and fast-paced teams in the country year in and year out.
So it’s no wonder that NFL teams keep trying to lure him into the big leagues. His no-huddle attack is already getting adopted by several teams, including the New England Patriots who brought Kelly in as a consultant last offseason. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came calling last year to try and lure him to Florida as their next head coach, but he decided then, as he has decided again now, that Oregon is still the right place for him.
And Oregon is going to benefit from his decision. While this year’s 12-win team will lose a number of seniors, the cupboard is stocked with talent returning next season and continuity in the coaching staff will only help the team move on and up from this year’s success. Getting Kelly back for another year at least is going to pave the way for the Ducks to hit the ground running in 2013 and be a serious contender for another Pac 12 championship and fifth straight BCS bowl game.
While Mark Helfrich was ready to take over this team and would have done an excellent job doing so, not having to worry about a transition in leadership is great news for Oregon. Look for Kelly to have another great season as head coach in 2013 and raise his NFL stock even more. See you next offseason for the latest Chip Kelly NFL tour extravaganza!