This Just In: Chip Kelly Is A Good Coach…

Mendte: Ignore that Dallas loss. The numbers suggest he's doing well.

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu - USA Today

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu – USA Today

Read Mike Missanelli on why Chip Kelly’s gaudy numbers might not get the Eagles to the postseason.

Since Chip Kelly is heralded by the Philadelphia media and fan base as a genius who revolutionized football, I decided to take a look at Kelly compared to his peers.

The best way, maybe the only way, to rate NFL head coaches is by wins and losses. With that criterion, many in Philadelphia will be surprised to find out that Kelly is not even the best of his class. That distinction goes to another guy with Philadelphia ties; former Temple head coach Bruce Arians, who took over the Arizona Cardinals job the same year Kelly took over the Eagles job. In fact, Kelly has the exact same record as the man he followed as Eagles head coach, the much-derided Andy Reid.

Here is the win loss record of the seven men who became the new coach of their respective teams in 2013:

Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals 21-9
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles 19-11
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs 19-11
Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers 17-13
Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills 14-16
Mark Trestman, Chicago Bears 13-17
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars 7-24

Of those seven teams, only Arians’ team is assured a playoff spot with two games yet to play.

If you look at every current NFL head coach, nine have won 20 or more games in their first two years of coaching. I am including Kelly on this list, as he has two games left to play this season and is expected to win at least one.

Here is the list of the current coaches who won at least 20 games in their first two years with their current team:

2011-12 Jim Harbaugh, San Francisc0 49ers 24-7-1
2012-13 Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts 22-10
2007-08 Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers 22-10
2013-14 Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals 21-9*
2011-12 Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers 21-11
2011-12 John Fox, Denver Broncos 21-11
2008-09 Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons 20-12
2008-09 John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens 20-12
2009-10 Rex Ryan, New York Jets 20-12
2013-14 Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs 19-11*
2013-14 Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles 19-11*
* Denotes second-year coaches, expected to make 20 wins.

That’s 11 of the NFL’s 32 coaches who have done as well as or better than Kelly in their first two years.
None of the coaches listed above made it to the Super Bowl in their first year. Two made it in their second year, Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers, who lost, and Mike Tomlin’s Steelers, who won. he only other current NFL coach to win in his second year is Bill Belichick, who was 16-16 his first two years, but 11 of those wins came in 2001 and ended with a Super Bowl Championship.

So Kelly’s success, although impressive, is not unprecedented. The Eagles are expected to win their final two games this year, making Kelly 21-11 in his first two years, tying him with current coaches Mike McCarthy of Green Bay and John Fox of Denver.

The interesting thing about the other 21-11 coaches is they both went to the Super Bowl in their fourth season with the team.

So, if 21 is the magic two year number, the Eagles and Kelly should be in Houston on February 5, 2017 for Super Bowl LI.

One last list of note, the eight new head coaches of the 2014 class are not fairing so well, with the lone exception of Jim Caldwell in Detroit.

Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions 10-4
Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans 7-7
Mark Pettine, Cleveland Browns 7-7
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings 6-8
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins 3-11
Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-12
Tony Sporano, Oakland Raiders 2-12
Ken, Wisenhurst, Tennessee Titans 2-13

It does remind you how fleeting these coaching jobs are, with 15 of the league’s 32 coaches taking over their teams in the last two years.

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