Maybe this is the whole point about power rankings to begin with. They’re designed to create controversy and get us arguing over who should be placed where. Because these things are mostly subjective, nobody can be proven right or wrong. If that’s the case well then they got me, congratulations.
Yesterday Elliot Harrison of NFL.com created a power rankings list of the top head coaches in the league. Checking in at number 18 overall was Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly:
“Kelly is a man who could shoot up this board awfully quickly. His first year in Philadelphia was a smashing success, as the Eagles won 10 games and took the NFC East title in the process. Kelly’s explosive offense lived up to the billing, ranking second in the NFL and causing other teams to look at tempo more closely on both sides of the ball…”
18? Based on that description you would think that he’d have earned a higher spot than that. Coaches who are trendsetters in the NFL should never be on the bottom half of any kind of ranking system. Chip Kelly is not the first man to bring the west coast offense into the pros, but few have done so as successfully.
On January 16, 2013 when Kelly took the job the Eagles were a mess, for lack of a better word. They’d just finished the 2012 season losing 11 of their last 12 games and finished in the cellar of the NFC East in a year when it was not particularly competitive. Their point differential for the year (-164) was the third worst mark in the NFL.
The defense was horrific and the offense had no identity despite having an extremely talented group of playmakers.
Last season the Eagles turned things around in a major way – they finished with a 10-6 record and won seven of their last eight regular season games. They established a fast-paced tempo that utilized their skill players so well that they quickly became the most dominant offense in the NFC.
In 2012 they had 5,665 total yards – in 2013 it jumped to 6,676.
In 2012 they scored 29 touchdowns – in 2013 it was 53.
Across the board the production on offense made incredible statistic leaps. What changed? Did the Eagles go out and give big money to a marquee free agent to turn things around? No. Did they draft the second coming of Jerry Rice? No. The single biggest change that the Eagles made that offseason was bringing in Chip Kelly as head coach.
In fact you could even argue that Kelly had less weapons than Andy Reid did in his final year coaching the Eagles. Even after losing their number one receiver in 2012 (Jeremy Maclin) to an ACL tear, the Eagles offense purred like a brand new RS-7.
And yet Harrison put him all the way down at number 18, behind the likes of Rex Ryan, Mike Smith, and Mike Tomlin. I don’t understand what criteria Harrison was using to evaluate the coaches, if any. But any fair observer would have to conclude that Chip Kelly got shafted on this one.