Oregon Duck headman Chip Kelly is in the midst of deciding whether or not to leave Eugene for the NFL. The following is an open letter to the coach.
Dear Coach Kelly,
Let me begin by saying that I’m a big fan of yours, and your work at the University of Oregon has been nothing short of remarkable. Four BCS games in your first four seasons? I couldn’t even do that in my Road to Glory career mode on NCAA 2013. The tempo offense you brought to Eugene that has transformed college football? Simply amazing. Speaking of bringing things that go fast to Eugene, the athletes you recruit to play ball for the Ducks are consistently among the best in the nation. The Oregon administration loves you. You handle the press with ease. You have a redshirt freshman quarterback who’s going to be the best in the conference next year (yeah, I said it). Your job security has joined death and taxes as the only certainties in the world. SO WHY ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT LEAVING FOR THE CLEVLAND BROWNS?
You’re a great college coach! You recruit well, excite the fan base, and know how to win college football games! You know who else did those three things well? Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz, and Dennis Erikson. They combined to go 48-77 in the NFL.
Not convinced yet? What about the most successful college coach of the last decade, Nick Saban? His stint with the Miami Dolphins was so bad I hear that he wouldn’t even go to visit Flipper when he was at Disney World this week for the National Championship game. How about legendary Oregon Coach Rich Brooks who left Eugene for the NFL like you are considering? He went 13-19 and was fired 2 years after accepting the Rams job. What about former Miami Hurricane coach Butch Davis who tried to bring high velocity gusts of change to Cleveland only to instead induce an awkward tornado of rust and a 24-35 record before being fired?
Don’t get me wrong, there are some former college coaches who have made successful jumps to the pros. Greg Schiano, Jim Harbaugh, and Pete Carroll are all examples of ex-college coaches who have recently produced solid results for the most part.
But take a closer look at the reasons for their departures, Chip. Greg Schiano was the coach of a decent team in a conference that was beginning to resemble the titanic when he jumped ship. Harbaugh wanted more money and inherited a reasonably talented San Francisco 49er team. Massive, debilitating, sanctions were closing in on Pete Carroll at USC faster than you can say, “Hey look, Reggie Bush is driving another new car.” They had to get out of town. The NFL was their get away vehicle away from downtrodden conferences and nosy NCAA officials.
But you don’t have to worry about any of that! The PAC-12 is strong! Your paycheck is fat! Unless you have a secret scandal that’s going to pop up in the next year, you are sitting pretty! To paraphrase a line from the Rihanna song of the month, your future at Oregon shines bright like a diamond! You have a top 5 ranking to look forward to next year! You have a great fan base! You grew the Oregon program! You planted the seeds of the speed and tempo offense in Eugene! You have the sickest uniforms in the game! But no. You’re thinking about going to Cleveland. Perpetually woeful, butt of AFC North jokes, Cleveland. Don’t do it, Chip. Please don’t do it.