For most of his NFL class sessions, Chip Kelly has performed awfully in the professional side of the coaching industry, using a convoluted 700-page playbook, not studying the game film, not communicating enough with his players who couldn’t decipher his complex schemes and adjustments. This has definitely been egregious for the business of two football franchises and, for a coach who flunked NFL 101, unable to grasped at any opportunity, Kelly dropped out of the NFL after three seasons.
It was only a matter of time before he failed miserably and got fired by his employer. The 49ers did what they had to do on Sunday night by ending a one-year relationship with Kelly — an embarrassing end to a pretty miserable run. It was apparently an ugly end to an unfinished career for a coach whose philosophy of football and offensive system do not work at the professional level. For months now, after he was sent to the corner of the locker room because of poor coaching, the 49ers’ seat he’s been sitting on burned his ass that it not only cost him his job but maybe another shot as an NFL head coach.
So now what?
Maybe he should reconsider his decision to leave the School of NFL Hard Knocks. When he dropped out of Oregon — Nike University — choosing the pros and leaving school to coach the Eagles, after he had originally decided to stay in Eugene, Ore., Kelly was regarded as an offensive specialist who turned around a lowly Philadelphia team in his first season as a coach with his unforeseen innovation that team’s ultimately figured out. He’s now branded as an NFL dropout, and should seriously go back to college.
The 49ers organization, for whatever reason, rushed the hiring process to fill a coaching vacancy by naming Kelly its next head coach, despite the fact that he was culpable for the Eagles tapering off into an anticlimax. The incompetence of the front office and failure to make business decisions, which have paralyzed the 49ers, exacerbates the level of uncertainty and makes it extremely hard to overcome the bad fortunes. And the fact that they quickly turned to Kelly to rejuvenate not only his career but the Niners offense and quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the biggest blunder in their roles as decision-makers.
Now standing in the unemployment line, Kelly is looking for his next coaching gig while now-fired general manager Trent Baalke is looking for work. Kelly lasted in just 16 games his first and only season with the Niners, and now he’s out after signing a four-year, $24 million contract. The 49ers, known for their championship pedigree and decorated history, finished the season 2-14 with a 25-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the finale. He’s not an NFL coach, and the moment he became one, he became the scapegoat for a disappearing offense and an experiment that went bad. He continued to smear his name and his chances at another coaching job in the pros for good because of his failures as a game manager and leader. Defenses adjusted to a clever speed offense, and by the time he took on a challenging task in San Francisco, Kelly’s opponent’s seemed to catch up to his spread offense, a frenetic, up-tempo pace — so he couldn’t any longer get by in the league.
Everyone, including myself, has been calling for his coaching job. As much he wants to stay in the NFL, there’s a job in Baton Rogue waiting for Kelly to jump on board and whip an LSU football program into shape. Armed with vast knowledge of the game, Kelly is a genius but coaching the big boys is just not for him. Kelly shouldn’t have been hired in the first place by the 49ers, a move of desperation, as options were not weighed carefully. A dysfunctional CEO Jed York apologized to fans for a dismal season and said that he had to fire Baalke and Kelly because they didn’t work well together.
If not for York screwing it all up, if not for allowing Baalke to be the dictator of his franchise, Kelly wouldn’t have been a coach for the 49ers in the first place, and Baalke would have been fired a couple of seasons ago. They didn’t show up this season at all. They looked ill prepared in big games, they looked utterly hopeless and they lacked stability on offense. This was a team in total disarray, a team set up to fail under Baalke and Kelly. It’s apparent that Kelly was not on the same page with regards to personnel with his boss. He wants to win on offense. Baalke puts emphasis on having a solid defense.
Much of the 49ers fan base has turned its collective eye away from San Francisco. It looks like York, the team’s owner, has made an effort to win back his fan base, but it may take some time to reconnect with dispirited fans. It’s going to take a while to convince his customers in believing that he cares about winning and “re-establishing a championship culture,” as he reiterated during his news conference. Because he’s not giving up any power, York faces a quandary and the only way he could resolve it is by putting his pride aside.
He broke up the 49ers front office, and it was about time he had come to his senses, and decided to clean house. One season provided enough evidence that first-year coach Kelly needed to be dismissed. He couldn’t manage a football team, couldn’t do it.
There are rumblings that Kelly wants to be an NFL offensive coordinator. But he’s a college dude, at best. His revolutionary offense works for the college level, not for the pro level. By leaving the NFL for a place such as LSU, he could build his own program, recruit his own players and change the culture for a school in the tough SEC West.
If he goes back to college, he’d seem like a genius, not a fool.