Chip Kelly is 1-3 as an NFL head coach and coming off a 32-point drubbing at the hands of the Broncos. If he had played his cards a bit differently, he could have had two Super Bowl rings by now. Kelly’s Eagles face Tom Coughlin’s Giants this weekend, but seven years ago, Coughlin was interviewing Kelly for a position on the Giants’ coaching staff.
Kelly at the time was offensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire, and this was a chance to make the jump from Division I-AA right to the NFL. Coughlin made Kelly an offer. Kelly said no.
“It was a quality control position,” Kelly said Wednesday. “I wasn't coaching a position. When you get to a point where I was, doesn't matter what level you're at, you're designing offenses, you're calling plays, coaching an individual position. Even though it's a huge step up going from New Hampshire to the Giants, that was it.”
A year later, Kelly became Mike Bellotti’s offensive coordinator at the University of Oregon, and in 2009, he succeeded Belloti, going 46-7 in four years as the Ducks’ head coach, with his teams scoring more points than any other college program during that four-year span. The Eagles hired Kelly in January, two weeks after firing Andy Reid, and on Sunday, Kelly and Coughlin will meet again, this time on the field instead of Coughlin’s office.
“We thought he was an outstanding young coach who had done a very, very good job, who was a good friend of one of the member's of my staff,” Coughlin said Wednesday. “When the position was available, we inquired about talking with Chip and had him in. Chip was an outstanding candidate. I think at that point in time he wanted something other than what we had available.” Coughlin led the Giants to Super Bowl championships after the 2007 and 2011 seasons, making him one of only eight coaches in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls without a loss.
Coughlin has a 151-123 career record in 18 years with the Giants and Jaguars. The Giants are 0-4 this year and need to go at least 9-4 the rest of the year to avoid his first losing season since 2004. The Eagles and Giants meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. “I had all the respect in the world for coach,” Kelly said of Coughlin. “I think he's a Hall of Fame coach, won two Super Bowls.
“Would have been a great person to learn from. It was a great job, but it wasn't the right job at the right time.”
- Reuben Frank, CSN Philly