Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chip Kelly. The first domino

So the Eagles kicked Chip Kelly to the curb. Many are flabbergasted -- never saw it coming -- and they're already talking about what poor Mr. Kelly might do next.

Two words. Shut up.

The man's got 2 more years left on his contract worth a total of $13 Million. (He's already pocketed over $18 Million for the last three years.) Philly owner Jeff Lurie is on the hook for this if Kelly does nothing more than play golf or sit home watching TV. Bet you wish you had a non-job like that. So can we dispense with all the hand wringing and whining about the supposedly beleaguered Chipster? I dare say $32 Million would tide most of us not named Mike Tyson over rather nicely.

What was unusual was Kelly being given the axe with one game left to go in the regular season. But billionaire owners like Lurie have their whims. And hey, the NFL franchises are THEIR toys. They can do whatever they want.

Yet Kelly was likely only the first domino that will fall. In the next few weeks we can likely expect another purge of head coaches around the league. Several are on the proverbial hot seat -- or should be. A few that come to mind......

John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens. Sure, they were excellent for several years, including winning a Super Bowl. But the Ravens have been a "nevermore" this year. They're terrible, with no apparent help in sight. And the age old question remains -- what have you done for me lately?

Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals. This might come as a surprise, given the Bengals are playoff bound yet again. But Lewis has clearly shown over the years that he doesn't have the right stuff to prepare his team for the playoffs. The postseason seems to be his glass ceiling. Always lots of talent, but always a quick exit. If the Bengals get bounced early again -- their quarterback situation notwithstanding -- it might just be time for ownership to pull the plug on Marvin and try something new.

Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints. Payton survived the Bountygate fiasco in the wake of the Saints winning a Super Bowl but the Saints have once again become the Aints. Granted, Drew Brees is on his last legs, but their defense is like a screen door on a submarine. They can't stop anybody. And wasn't being a defensive guru Payton's calling card? Methinks he gone after this year.

Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills. Sure, it's only his first year there and the usually hapless Bills have been semi-respectable. Nonetheless, a clown can put on new make-up, but he'll always be a clown. Ryan should be fired on general principles. This man had no business -- NONE -- ever becoming a head coach in the first place. Did I mention clown?

Tom Coughlin of the NY Giants. Yep, he's been there a long time and has two improbable Super Bowl victories under his belt. But c'mon. Has anybody ever looked more clueless on the sideline than Coughlin? The Giants thudded back to the nether regions this year and there's no reason to believe they'll be any better in the future under Coughlin. They're way -- WAY -- overdue for a major housecleaning.

Lovie Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This one's simple. Notwithstanding his inglorious history elsewhere over the years, a man named Lovie has no business in the NFL. I've still never figured out how he morphed from being married to a millionaire on Gilligan's Island, then changed his gender and color to become an NFL coach. The surgeries they can do these days are absolutely amazing, but it still doesn't hide the fact this dude is a loser.

Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts. Yes, he wound up being dealt a lousy hand in Indy. Not a whole lot of quality personnel and the super-hyped but under-performing QB Andrew Luck went out with a lacerated kidney. Ouch. But even more so than Coughlin, this guy appears clueless. Have you seen him at a press conference fielding questions? It's almost painful to watch.

Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions. The strangest case of them all. His track record is proof positive that's he's been a decent coordinator under other head coaches, but typically fell on his face in his second year after taking over the reins of command. Last year (2014), Caldwell's first with the Lions, they had a patsy schedule and further caught every break imaginable to make the playoffs. They were bounced in the wild card game. 2015, Caldwell's sophomore year in Detroit, saw them have to play a few good teams. Predictably, they crashed and burned out of the gate to the tune of 1-7. Of late, they've won a few meaningless games, just enough to tease the ever-gullible Detroit faithful, but their season was basically over before Halloween. There will be no playoffs for Motown.

Whether or not the owning Ford family (Martha and her girls -- which is laughable in and of itself) decides to give Jimbo and his crew the heave-ho they deserve remains to be seen. For all the decades the late William Clay Ford was in charge, infinite patience ruled the day -- and years. Remember, these are the same people that came up with the Edsel and the Pinto. The same geniuses that kept Matt Millen around for 8 -- count-em -- EIGHT years to oversee their football team. How did all that work out? Millen ranked right up there with the exploding tires some Ford products featured on their automobiles a few years back.

But chances are Caldwell will be back next year. It's the Ford way. Wait, wait, wait, for eons, then finally make a dumb move. If so, even Caldwell is likely bright enough to be licking his chops. Turns out, after the Lions failed to make the playoffs again, next year's schedule will return to the patsy variety. They might "rebound" and go 10-6 or 11-5 in 2016. The Honolulu blue and silver delusional faithful will be back to chugging their koolaid. Of course, they will have no chance -- NONE -- of getting within sniffing of the Super Bowl, but with a little luck Matthew Stafford might finally win a playoff game -- maybe.

If so, look for Martha and her equally clueless girls to give Jim Caldwell a contract extension. A few more years and a few more million bucks.

It's just the Ford way. They've never known any better. And the beat will go on in Detroit.

But a team with competent ownership would see it for what it is.

Caldwall was a bad hire in the first place, is never going to be the answer to all the ails the Lions, and should be kicked to the curb like Chip Kelly.

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