Why Chip Kelly is the ultimate Eagles Villain


All week at NBC Sports Philadelphia, we're debating the biggest villains in Philly sports history. Today we begin with Eagles. Here's Dave Zangaro's argument on why Chip Kelly is the biggest villain in the history of the Birds. You can vote here

Sometimes the worst rot comes from inside. 

On a surface level, the Eagles had a 26-21 record in nearly three seasons under Chip Kelly. They made the playoffs one year and they should have made them a second. And Kelly took a 4-12 team and won 20 games in his first two seasons. 

So how can he be an all-time Eagles villain? 

Well … how can he not be? 

Inside, they were rotting. 

Kelly took over the NovaCare Complex in 2013 and uprooted years of culture-building, replacing it with awkward social interactions, pee tests and an overall environment that didn’t cater at all to professional athletes. 

Chipper always said “culture beats scheme” but his culture was awful. 


He traded away LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles, he cut DeSean Jackson, he alienated current and former members of the team, he bailed on the Jeff Lurie’s holiday party and he even big-timed Merrill Reese. He big-timed Merrill Reese!

I’ve always said that Chip Kelly the GM got Chip Kelly the coach fired. And that’s, in-large-part, true. But Chip Kelly the person didn’t make matters any better. 

Then there were the comments from Brandon Boykin, whom Chip traded in 2015. Boykin said Kelly was “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture.” That came after LeSean McCoy said Chip “got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good Black players.” And then there was former left tackle and former assistant coach under Kelly, Tra Thomas, who said players in the locker room felt like there was a “hint of racism” in Kelly’s personnel moves. 

Perhaps a lot of that all stemmed from the Riley Cooper situation. Cooper in 2013 was caught on video spewing the N-word. Not only did Cooper stay on the team, he got a contract extension the next season. 

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When Lurie fired Andy Reid in 2012, the organization actually had a going-away part for Big Red in the cafeteria to honor him and say goodbye. I’m sure Lurie had a party when Chip was fired too … but for different reasons. 

As the Eagles’ organization moved on from Kelly, Lurie said he wanted the next coach to have “emotional intelligence,” which just so happened to be the one thing Kelly possessed none of. The Eagles basically wanted to find Kelly’s emotional opposite as they hired their next coach. 

In fairness, Chip wasn’t all bad. Some of his offense is still being used and he assembled a pretty good coaching staff. But there are edible portions on a moldy piece of bread too. 

When it’s all said and done, the Chip Era Era will be remembered as a gray, dystopian period in Eagles history. Some will say without Kelly, the Eagles never would have won the Super Bowl. Maybe that’s true, but I’m not giving credit to a guy who screwed up everything so royally that it needed to be fixed. 

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