The Chip Kelly circus that rolled through town late last Sunday afternoon triggered a poop storm of activity surrounding if, what and how much of what was being reported was true. It sent shockwaves through Facebook, helped shut down Twitter, and pushed Pac-12 message boards through walls thought previously to be impenetrable. Everyone with an ounce of interest in college football and more notably, the west coast’s version of it, wanted to know not only IF it were true, but also WHY Charles “Chip” Kelly was leaving a program he’d put amongst the elite of the college football world, for a team near the bottom of the NFL world, and at such an inopportune time?
I was amongst those people. I sat on Twitter, refreshed various message boards at a less-than-healthy rate, and put out calls to the handful of people I fraternize with who invariably know more than the average bear. I’d heard no rumblings of an interview, seen less than nothing on websites popularly known for sniffing such out, and was taken aback by the level of surprise at which said news was stupefying the greats of the “insider” world. Peter King knew nothing, Adam Schefter knew nil, and college football prognosticators Bruce Feldman, Mark Schlabach and Pat Forde…zilch. It seemed to come from nowhere and due to such, led many down a high-school-hallway-like trail of he said/she said not seen since…well…high school.
“My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.”
That’s right, the previous quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was the first thing I thought of while clicking through the never-ending wave of speculation revolving around the “Chip Storm.” Everyone had a story and more so, a “very reliable” source from which it came.
In the midst of the storm, most pointed at a certain spanking from the NCAA. If Chip was leaving, it was undoubtedly due to an attempt to get out from under an inevitable beat-down stemming from the Willie Lyles situation. Huskies had their take, Beavers furthermore, and even a few Ducks pontificated about the possibility of a Pete Carroll-like/Baltimore Colts-esque departure, leaving Eugene, the University of Oregon and the football team smoldering in his wake, as a result, most quickly turned their attention to the list of candidates most likely to replace the presumed ex-Oregon coach. Chris Peterson was at the top of that list, primarily due to his past tenure on the Duck sideline, but secondly due to geographic proximity and undisputable record at Boise State.
“My buddy in Boise said he got a text from a co-worker that Phil Knight was in town.” Obviously, after-all he was ahead of this story and was certainly enjoying a steak, onion rings and a high-end scotch with Peterson while discussing family, old times and oh yeah, we might have a job opening.
Then Gary Patterson – current TCU Head Coach – , who maintains a stronghold in the recruit-rich state of Texas, runs a similar system as Chip, and is undoubtedly looking to upgrade to a upper-tier program like Oregon.
“The jet the University uses left the Eugene airport a couple hours ago, is refueling in Timbuktu, and is reportedly headed towards Dallas with a blank check from Nike, a couple hot chicks and a pound of Eugene’s finest…err…a crate of Oregon’s finest wines.”
From there people had Steve Sarkisian, Mike Bellotti, Pete Carroll, John Gruden, Tony Dungy and current Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich in the mix. No name was too big, and no coach was ungettable.
Even in the aftermath of Sunday night’s melee, rumors are now piling-up as to why Chip REALLY turned down the Buccaneers, because after-all, there has to be more to it than a coach pulling back the reins when he felt he was a little too far out over his skis.
“Chip asked for compensation from the Buccaneers during an almost certain suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell following inevitable NCAA sanctions, and Tampa said no.”
“Chip wanted to leave, but the university wouldn’t budge on either his 15-day notice or buyout clause and the Bucs didn’t want to wait or pay.”
“Tampa never really offered the job, but Chip’s agent concocted the entire scenario in an effort to get more money for Coach Kelly.”
“Chip heard from the NCAA that the sanctions coming were going to be more significant than expected, he was going to have to be fired, so he then threw his name into the hat for Offensive Coordinator and Head Coaching jobs in the NFL, but then the university was told he could be retained and he then backed-out of the Tampa deal.”
I understand the excitement over this story and trust me, I understand the emotion tied to the current head coaching position at the University of Oregon, but if there’s a lesson to be learned from Sunday night’s excitement it’s that very few people really know “what’s up.” Many of the aforementioned rumors contradict themselves and many more are negated by the simple fact that Chip stayed. Everyone has a source and everyone’s source is “reliable.” They’ll tell you their source is “rarely wrong.” They’ll tell you their source is at or near the top of the food chain in regards to boosters. And they’ll tell you their source is connected to past and current players or administrators. But you know what they won’t tell you: Who their source is and if and when their source is incorrect.
We know Chip Kelly is the coach of the Oregon Ducks. We don’t know for how much longer. We know the NCAA is investigating the Oregon program. We don’t know what they’ll come up with and what the punishment will be if and when they do. And we know for every Oregon fan that’s happy Coach Kelly stayed, there are probably a few of the opposition who would’ve like to see him go. But like it or not Chip Kelly remains.
I don’t know what happened Sunday night and probably never will, but I wanted to know and due to such bought into a least a fraction of what I was hearing and reading late into the night. After the fact it seems stupid, but in the heat of the battle even the most rational of thinkers can be swayed by the irrational. But not me, not anymore…I’ve had it with rumors.
I know that for certain…and I don’t need a source to tell me so.