Seven years ago, Tom Coughlin had his eyes on possibly hiring Chip Kelly as one of his assistant coaches on his staff during 2006. Seven years later, Coughlin and Kelly will coach against each other this Sunday when the New York Giants take on Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles.
Before being known as the can't-miss coach to hire out of Oregon, Kelly was the offensive coordinator for the University of New Hampshire from 1999-2006, which caught the attention of Coughlin and offered him the job of the Giants' offensive quality control coach. During the Eagles preparation for the Giants, Kelly told Paul Schwartz of the New York Post why he decided to turn down Coughlin and coaching in the NFL.
“It wasn’t coaching a position,’’ Kelly recalled. “It was more that part of, when you get to a point where I was, doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you’re designing offense, you’re calling plays, coaching in an individual position. Even though it’s a huge step up going from New Hampshire to the Giants, that was it. I had all the respect in the world for [Tom Coughlin]. I think he’s a Hall of Fame coach, won two Super Bowls. Would have been a great person to learn from. It was a great job, but it wasn’t the right job at the right time.’’
Instead of going to the Giants, Kelly instead became the offensive coordinator for the University of Oregon in 2007 and held that position for two seasons before being named Oregon head coach in 2009, which is where he really made his mark in the NCAA, as he went 46-7 during his four seasons as the head coach of the Ducks.
His success in Oregon is what caught the attention of the NFL and the Eagles in early 2013, as Andy Reid was fired from the team after 13 years with the team and wanted a fresh voice to lead the team, thus Kelly decided to leave Oregon and choose Philadelphia over the Cleveland Browns. The first part of Kelly's rookie season in the NFL hasn't gone the way he'd envision it going, as Philadelphia is 1-3 and has one of the worst defenses in the league.
On Sunday, Kelly will get his first taste of the fierce NFC East rivalry between the Eagles and Giants at MetLife Stadium; a battle which saw the Eagles win the last five meetings before the Giants won the last one this past December, 42-7.
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