By Bob Condotta and Mark SchlabachAssociated PressThe story of Chip Kelly’s first year as an NFL head coach, a story that would take decades to unfold, begins with the team’s first game.
The New York Jets defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 on Nov. 1, 1993.
Kelly had just come off a 2-14 season in which the Jets failed to make the playoffs.
He had won two Super Bowls, but the Jets never again made the playoffs in Kelly’s four seasons in the NFL.
On a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon, Kelly stood in the tunnel before kickoff and watched his first preseason game in Philadelphia.
He was excited about the potential to play in a stadium that had never hosted a regular-season game.
Kelly didn’t know much about the stadium at the time, but he was determined to make it a success.
The team practiced at the stadium’s practice fields for a few hours, and then the team traveled to the team hotel to take the field.
The practice fields had been cleared for the day, and Kelly was thrilled to be there.
He’d just been through the process of getting the Jets to the playoffs again.
The Jets were going to be the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in the same season that they lost a Superbowl.
They’d also be the team to have their first winning season in franchise history.
But then, Kelly’s excitement for the opportunity quickly evaporated.
Kelly was fired in January of 1994 after a 1-11 season.
He hadn’t coached a game in the regular season since the 1998 season.
That season, the Jets were 3-10.
Kelly’s teams had gone 10-6 the previous year and 9-7 in 1994.
The franchise was on the outside of the playoffs for the first time since the 1997 season.
The next offseason, the Eagles signed free-agent wide receiver Deion Sanders and added veteran quarterback Steve Young, who was a former Heisman Trophy winner.
The team was looking for a new coach, but Kelly was still willing to make a run at the Super Bowl.
When Kelly arrived in Philadelphia in January, he was excited to finally get to know his players and coach, so he didn’t take much time to build his rapport with them.
But after just a few weeks, Kelly was overwhelmed by how much the new coaching staff needed to improve.
He didn’t have much of a rapport with players.
Some of them weren’t really on board with his philosophy.
They weren’t into the new system.
They were not interested in being coached like he was.
And that’s when things really started to sour.
Kelly was also in a difficult situation.
The Eagles were in a rebuilding phase and had been through multiple coaching changes in the last decade.
The front office and the players had a lot of expectations to live up to.
Kelly, the coach of the Eagles since 1993, was trying to lead the team through its transition.
As the season progressed, Kelly had some success, especially in the preseason.
But he was losing games.
He couldn’t keep the team in the game.
His teams lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game and to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVII.
Kelly also lost the Eagles to the Carolina Panthers in the Super, and the team failed to finish the regular-year season with a winning record.
In a bid to improve the team, Kelly brought in a new head coach in Mike Shanahan.
Shanahan was a three-time Pro Bowler who led the New Orleans Saints to two Superbowls, two division titles and a berth in the playoffs every year from 2001-08.
He came to Philadelphia with his reputation as a football genius.
But Kelly didn`t like the way Shanahan was running things.
After a rough start to the season, Shanahan had the Eagles winning 10 straight games and posting a 10-1 record in January.
The season was looking good.
But then the Eagles lost their next three games, including a 30-24 loss to the Chicago Bears on Dec. 20, 1993, the last time they won a Superdome game.
The following week, the team went to the Coliseum to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were the reigning NFC champions.
The Jets beat the Bucs 31-14 in overtime.
That game was the first in franchise playoff history, and it marked the end of Shanahan’s tenure as head coach.
Shanahan had a long list of critics.
He got his first loss of the season against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Feb. 7, 1994.
He went 4-8 the following season and went 3-13 in 1995.
His first season in Philadelphia, Shanahan was 5-9.
The fans were unhappy.
The media was unhappy.
There were a lot things going on at that time, and we were all kind of trying to figure out how to respond to all of it, according to a team source.
And so he had