Chip Kelly has yet to coach a regular season game in the NFL, but the expectations that came along with his hire in the City of Brotherly Love continue to grow. The arrival of the highly coveted spread offense, to go along with the variety of offensive weapons that the Philadelphia Eagles possess, continues to add pressure to an already unsteady situation. Kelly was hired to take over a 4-12 football team and make them relevant again. As if he wasn’t dealing with enough, the league has continued to give him trouble about speeding up the game, one of the staples of what he expects to be a well-oiled offensive machine. Kelly has succeeded at every level he has ever coached, but on one of the largest stages the football world can produce he is given his stiffest challenge.
In Washington in front of a nationally televised audience, Kelly will lead the Eagles into FedEx Field on Monday Night Football during opening week of the 2013 NFL season. Talk about a tough way to get your feet wet. But Kelly wouldn’t have it any other way. He thrives on a challenge, demonstrating an indescribable work ethic, and expects nothing but the best from himself and his players. However, when the spotlight is on and the burden of in-game decisions happen with each passing second, Kelly’s calls will mean as much as any actions his players take on the field.
Without a doubt, every decision, every in-game adjustment he makes on Monday night will be looked at under a microscope. He will be challenged with covering up a mediocre defense while putting on an offensive show, the likes of 4th of July fireworks. Kelly has been preparing for this since he began his climb to the NFL some 23 years ago. He has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative thinkers in the game, regardless of level, and has had teams studying film of his past successes for months now preparing to attempt to shut him down. So one can only wonder but ask if, although Kelly will never take the field on Monday night, will his effect on the game will be greater than those who actually do?
If football in Philadelphia is to become relevant once again, Kelly’s performance may have to overshadow the play on the field and steal the headlines from the start. He’ll surely have some tricks up his sleeve to keep all eyes on what the Eagles are doing, especially offensively, beginning the move toward being relevant once again.