Imagine you’re taking a college class. Something in literature, maybe covering literature during the Jazz Age. And you’re taking notes, listening to the professor, nodding intently. But every few minutes, one of your classmates speaks up, and he has something to say. The interruptions don’t bother you as much as his tone does. He speaks with an authority that matches the professor, which doesn’t fit because this kid is wearing a Bright Eyes shirt a size too small with Cheeto stains on it. But he continues to interject, and assert his knowledge, and basically tell everyone that he knows more about the subject than the professor.
You hate this guy, of course. Everyone does.
Now imagine you get your tests back that Friday. You’re looking at your score and you’re happy, but not too happy. You missed an easy question or two, and your handwriting looks like a doctor who suddenly became a zombie while writing. Then you look over and you see the interrupting classmate, the one who knows everything, and he’s hurrying to put away his test. But before he does, you see he got a 58 on it. A big fat F sitting on the page.
But then, next week, he’s back at it again. Still interjecting, still acting like he knows everything. And now his authoritative tone is even more annoying. How could some dude who talks so much, who is so cocky, who doesn’t let the professor talk — how could this guy be so bad at the subject? Shouldn’t he listen more if he’s that bad? Shouldn’t he shut up?
This story was somewhat about my college experience (fuck you Mark), but it’s mostly about Chip Kelly, the equivalent of an English major with cheeto stains on his Bright Eyes shirt.
Your favorite coach is Chip Kelly, and he sucks.
The above story encapsulates what is so frustrating about Chip Kelly as a head coach. Plenty of coaches are bad. Coaches get fired every year for underperforming, for not managing their talent, for…being loud I guess?
But the issue with Chip isn’t that he sucks. And it isn’t just armchair analysis of “Eagles are good without Chip, the Niners are bad, hurr hurr!” It’s that he thinks he’s a mastermind despite sucking. It’s that he is so committed to his brand of play which has not shown to have real results. It’s that he gives snarky little quips in interviews and acts like the people criticizing him are idiots who don’t understand his genius. It’s that he doesn’t just want to coach, he also wants to be in charge of assembling a roster that can execute his clearly flawed system. It’s that he looks at a team that can’t score efficiently to save its life and thinks “You know what’s a good idea? Making them run plays faster than anyone so we can put our defense on the field for longer and wear them out!”
It is common for a coach to have a system that they like to use. It is common for them to be stubborn about it even if it doesn’t work at first. But one would hope, after it fails in spectacular fashion like it did towards the end of his Eagles run, that the coach would be humbled. He’d learn to adapt and perhaps make changes to avoid making the same mistakes.
But that’s why Chip Kelly sucks. Because he failed. He got the F on his paper. And instead of study, or learn, or anything else, he’s back at it again. He hasn’t learned a goddamn thing, and the Niners are going to pay the price.
Adapt to your talent, Chip. Play to your team’s strengths. And for the love of God, please wash those Cheeto stains from your shirt.