Chip Kelly And The NFL's Golden Era of Offense

Jeff Gross

Chip Kelly's hiring as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles firmly cements what we've seen the last 10 years - this is the NFL's golden era for offense...for now.

Nothing like a little breaking news to get the football world spinning.

The Philadelphia Eagles have hired former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly to man their ship in the wake of Andy Reid.

Now that in and of itself is an interesting story. You've got the architect behind the ascendance of the Oregon football program (unless you want to argue it's those uniforms and Phil Knight, but I put them just slightly behind Chip). The Eagles, coming off of the failed Dream Team That Wasn't in 2011 and a Vickless limp-in to end the 2012 season at 4-12, had a vacancy to fill only after firing Andy Reid after his 14-season run at the helm. Thirdly, with the emergence of the read-option wrinkle firmly establishing itself as the storyline of the 2012 NFL season, you have a head coach who has run a triple option offense to insanely successful levels now coming to the pros.

That's plenty to swallow.

Most interesting to me, however, is the larger picture. Kelly's hire makes him the sixth head coaching hire for the 2013 season, and every one of them has a history on the offensive side of the ball.

Kelly's aforementioned predecessors, Reid, worked his way up the Green Bay Packers offensive hierarchy before taking the Philadelphia job. We'll see him in the Governor's Cup next preseason as the head coach of the Chiefs.

The Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith and brought in Marc Trestman who had stints as an offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders and North Carolina State Wolfpack before heading to the Canadian Football League for the last five years.

Mike McCoy was raised by the Panthers' offensive staff before taking over as OC for the Broncos for four years; he's now the head coach in San Diego.

After three seasons as the Saints' OC, Doug Marrone was the head coach at Syracuse. Now he's on his way to Buffalo atop their coaching tree.

Even Rob Chudzinksi has come full circle - a former Cleveland OC who went to San Diego then to Carolina as their OC is now back in Cleveland as the head coach.

Every NFL coaching hire through half a dozen moves has been raised on offense. Coincidences are for suckers.

One more note to consider: the explosion of the passing game. We've talked about it plenty, as have others for good reason. We're in the midst of the greatest passing era of the game. No QB had ever topped 4,800 passing yards in a season until Dan Fouts did in 1981. In 1984, Dan Marino took the single season record. No other QB in the 1980, nor a single one in the 1990s, was able to make the mark...and then...

In 2001, Kurt Warner finished with 4,830 yards ending the streak...since then, there have been 10 seasons in which a QB topped the 4,800 mark. Think about that.

From 1900-1999: 2 seasons. From 2000-present, 11. If there was ever a time to go all in on offense, this is it.

What does all this offense really mean when encapsulated by the Kelly (Chip variety, not Brian et al) hire? Time will tell us more than I could guess right now.

But if defense really does win championships, it's going to get a hell of a challenge next year.

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