I’ve long had a problem not with the concept but with the practice of sport columnery, where senior writers are given a finite space to fill on a typically predetermined, regular basis. Just like the problem with 24-7 news networks, where air needs to be exhaled whether there’s actual news or not, the columnist is forced to opine and feign outrage on often inferior issues undeserving of their platform. It’s a symptom of the concept of a daily newspaper.
So today, Sam Donnellon, whom I’m just assuming agreed with the likes of Reuben Frank and Mike Missanelli in their perhaps real outrage over Chip Kelly’s avoidance of the media, came out swinging at Kelly, not for his reclusiveness (because Kelly spoke to the media at length twice over the past two weeks!), but because of what he said when he did speak:
The question is, does anyone really care?
Does anyone care that Chip Kelly’s version of how Howie Roseman lost his dream job is incongruous to the version Jeffrey Lurie put forth at the NFL owners’ meetings this week? Or that the firing of Tom Gamble, which Lurie deemed “a long time coming,” was something Kelly said he knew nothing of and had nothing to do with.
And if the answer is no, which it seems to be to many, then the next question seems to be this:
Is there a place – or need – for honesty in professional sports these days?
Or is it just “Win, baby, Win?”
I’m pretty certain I know what Chip’s honest answer to that would be. Any reasonable person who has bothered to compare some of his answers on topics such as the ones above, or on the LeSean McCoy trade, with the ones offered by his owner is well aware Kelly has a little Col. Nathan Jessup in him when it comes to our right to the truth.
He has neither the time nor the inclination to explain himself to . . . well, you get the drift.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
It’d be one thing to call out Lurie and Kelly for the inconsistencies in their stories (that’s an actual story!), but Donnellon used the topic, and his contrived lede, to broach a tired subject that he himself acknowledged probably no one cares about. BREAKING: Sports fans more interested in winning than inside baseball during the smack-dab middle of the offseason. More at 11.
But then, the conditioned response of the ink-stained scriptual kicked in (I typically like Donnellon, so this isn’t meant to trash the guy– just this particular column) and Sammy reflexively took aim at fans – his readers and audience – who care little about whether the coach speaks and usually enjoy his messing with the media:
The producer/director, of course, is our beloved head coach, whose continued bemusement amid the frantic and often futile pursuit of truth has, if nasty comments at the end of our stories carry any weight, solidified an army of tweet-twitching followers. That prankster’s smile of his, that rapid-fire verbiage that ultimately offers about as much sustenance as a rice cake – it’s wonderfully entertaining.
Especially when the media are on the other end of the prank.
We’re the bad guys, the messengers, eating all that free food, being lazy all the time, not following the lessons of Journalism 101, a course that clearly about 1 billion people have taken. And Kelly, whose close circle of friends back in New Hampshire included members of the Fourth Estate, certainly knows this. He also knows that, as long as he can sell it as him against them, the public will allow him all the obfuscating his little heart desires.
As long as he Wins, baby, Wins.
Every bit of this, be it from Sam or Reuben or Mike or Les, is self-serving, whether they admit it or not. In truth, the Eagles’ drama has given them more to write about. Imagine how boring it would’ve been if DeSean was released last year because he had a troublesome shoulder injury that made his cap hit too risky? Boring! Or what if Howie Roseman took a job as a financial analyst so he could stop being the office nerd? Snoozefest! And yet, the disingenuousness of writing a column complaining about the so-called soap opera is completely lost on Donnellon.
Of course Jeff and Chip aren’t going to give the whole story. If they did, the headlines would be: Chip Throws Howie Under The Bus. McCoy’s Work Ethic A Little To Shady For Kelly. You know how this works. So does Chip. So does Sam. So, the Eagles do what. every. organization. does. when it parts ways with an executive or high-profile employee: We had a different vision and wish him well. This is why we collectively rolled our eyes when reporters, who, unfortunately for them lack both the physical appearance and charm of early-90s Tom Cruise, demanded that Chip take the stand and answer about the code red or however the fuck you want to crowbar the reference into your story.
And then we have the true disconnect between those who’ve spent a life in sports where press conferences and media scrums trump the actual games and experience of something as irrational and inconsequential as sports fandom. Accountability is good (so is greed, if we want to work in another classic VHS-era movie reference), and while we’d all love to hear Chip spill his guts about interoffice politics at One NovaCare Way, it’s never going to happen. Not on Chips’s watch. So instead, we sit back and enjoy as a man, seemingly grotesque and incomprehensible to those who cover him, who operates so far beyond the walls that the media professes to guard and uses words like “culture” and “philosophically” and pictures of Bart Simpson, toys with those who, deep down in places they don’t write about in hackneyed columns, want drama over which to feign outrage, need drama over which to feign outrage, about the man who has neither the time nor the inclination to explain himself to those whose feigned outrage depends on the drama that he provides and who question the manner in which he provides it! Does Chip Kelly disdain Howie Roseman? YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT HE DOES!
I should probably just call it a week.65 Comments
Cincinnati Bengal and Camden native Devon Still and his daughter, Leah, were on FOX Good Day today, a day after announcing that Leah’s cancer was in remission. Leah basically spent the full six-minute segment being adorable, but outdid herself at the end when she looked at her dad and declared: “Daddy, you’re never going back to Cincinnati. You’re playing for the Eagles!”
Still just signed a one-year deal with the Bengals. Awkward.
Video after the jump. Continue reading18 Comments
Chip Kelly spoke — quite saucily — to the media for over an hour this morning without saying hardly anything. But he did use the word “philosophically” about 1,000 times in
trolling the gathered media talking about this coming draft:
“Philosophically, I want to keep all of our draft picks. I think you build your team through the draft. So if you gut yourself for one year and for one guy, philosophically, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.”
And yet, Sal Pal, still in the process of slinging shit around the room like a drunken monkey who just ate some bad creme brulee, pressed on about Mariota. Here’s how the exchange went, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks:
Still, Kelly admitted that there were exceptions to every rule, which led to this back-and-forth with a reporter when he was asked if there was a price the head coach would pay for Mariota.
“What’s it cost?,” Kelly said. “Give me a number?”
“Two first-round picks,” the reporter replied.
“Where am I going?,” Kelly said, “From where to where?”
“To No. 6,” said the reporter.
“Never gets you there,” Kelly said. “It took two first round picks to go from No. 6 to No. 2 two years ago.”
As for if there was any price he would commit right now to paying for Mariota, Kelly offered up an unlikely scenario.
“If he goes to 12,” Kelly said, “and it is going to cost us a conditional seventh-round pick?”
Chip admitted, however, that even though he is philosophically against trading draft picks, there are always exceptions to philosophical thought, like that time in 1492 when… ah… just some guy sailed the ocean blue:
“People used to think the world was flat until that guy took a boat and didn’t fall off the earth.”
Close enough.15 Comments
Les Bowen, ladies and gentlemen.
I know it seems like I pick on Les around here, and maybe I do, but sometimes he just makes it so easy. A few weeks ago, when Chip Kelly quelled the fears of beat writers everywhere during an ostensibly impromptu press conference at the NovaCare Complex, I jumped on Les for being more concerned with why Howie Roseman’s desk was moved than following up when Chip admitted that he was offered a first round pick for Sam Bradford. Who was it?, I wanted to know. Les retorted:
Last week it was reported that it was the Browns, who offered the 19th pick. Today, Chip was asked about it, and keeping with his theme of toying with the media and saying virtually nothing, he stated that would never reveal that sort of thing… as if he was revealing any sort of thing today. This, of course, was a victory for Les, who, I’m sure he’d be happy to remind us, has worked in sports media (unlike me, who owns a profitable sports website). But then a weird thing happened: Jeff Fisher, an NFL coach the same as Chip, whom I guess missed the memo about not answering these sorts of questions, admitted that the Browns offered his team, the Rams, a first round pick for Bradford before he was traded to the Eagles:
Rams coach Jeff Fisher acknowledged Wednesday that the Browns tried to trade for quarterback Sam Bradford in early March, and that the compensation involved draft picks and not players.
Fisher confirmed that the Browns did not offer the No. 12 over pick for Bradford, which essentially confirms reports they offered the No. 19 overall. But other compensation was also discussed before the Rams ultimately dealt Bradford to Philadelphia for quarterback Nick Foles and an exchange of draft picks.
Meanwhile, Eagles coach Chip Kelly wouldn’t say if the Browns were the team that offered him a first-rounder for Bradford the morning after he acquired him.
Chip didn’t answer the question, but Fisher did. Sometimes I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask.9 Comments
If you ever wondered about Chip Kelly’s ability to get players to buy-in, wonder no more, my little friends, because Chip, 51 and slightly portly in a Barney Rubble sort of way*, apparently has enough persuasion skills to get Jill Cohen, of Oregon, to go all-in on the unofficial Chip of the NFL.
Since last night, multiple readers have come forward with information on Cohen, whom we’re learning is supposedly in a long-distance relationship with the best football coach on Earth (OK, maybe second best). Last year, the folks over at Broken Bell Philly provided some gossipy details that I’d take with a huge helping of salt. However, they were also given some pictures of Jill, presumably from Facebook, and yep, she’s my age:
Per her LinkedIn page, Jill graduated from Oregon in 2004, which would make her roughly 32. Best part? She’s Oregon’s Assistant Director of Development and Donor Relations, which is sooooo delightfully cliché. Like if you asked Disney to create a princess for King Chip, Jill is what they would come up with. I can only assume that she’d also be a health enthusiast who sells organic smoothie powder on Etsy and weekends (v.) with Phil Knight’s wife on Cannon Beach, where every summer the pair organizes a Nike sponsored 10k to benefit women suffering from plantar fasciitis. Her best friend would be a wisecracking zebra. She’s the one, Chip! She’s the one!!! It ain’t get more perfect than this. Someone get Pixar on the phone!
Like one of those eccentric billionaires who can’t be more than 10 miles from the ocean for extended periods of time, Chip can’t go a day without quacking to one of the many Ducks in his life. Ducks fly together. You’re goddamn right they do, Gordon Bombay!
Never a better time to buy this shirt.
UPDATE: We’re reminded that Chip’s ex worked at… wait for it: Nike. From who else but Mark Saltveit:
On July 24, 2008, Kelly announced his engagement to Karen “Kobi” Biagini, a University of New Hampshire grad who works as a merchandiser for Nike to this day. Those plans seemed to fade away after he got the Oregon head coaching job, though nothing further was announced.
She’s also a New Hampshire grad with a degree in Kinesiology. God this dude stays in his lane.
*Credit to a commenter for that perfect comparison43 Comments
Before I go any further, I NEED to know what is happening here. NEED to know who that is. Is that a colleague? A friend? The world’s hottest baseball scout?! Are we looking at a Big Balls Chip situation here?!?! I give you this solemn promise: I won’t stop until I find out.
Where’s Chip Kelly expert Mark Saltveit? He usually eats these goddamn things.33 Comments