NEXT MAN UP: Andy Reid gave the Eagles 14 pretty good years. Now they hope Kelly can deliver that and more. Photo courtesy Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

I was starting to think every GM and owner looking for a head coach was losing their mind.

Following the first Monday after the regular season, we had an incredibly deep pool of potential head coach candidates. Andy Reid, Lovie Smith, Chip Kelly, Bruce Arians. Maybe even Bill O’Brien or Brian Kelly. Rumors of Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, and Jon Gruden? We couldn’t rule those out, either.

And then, as if almost on cue, every team outside of the Chiefs started hiring head coaches that literally no one had been talking about before they were announced as the new head honcho of an NFL squad. The Browns hired Rob Chudzinski. The Chargers hired Mike McCoy (okay, this was a pretty solid call by San Diego). And then, to top it all off, the Browns, who fired a coach that nearly became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl, hired a guy coaching in the Canadian Football League.

I thought I was losing MY mind. I could understand if one franchise wanted to think outside the box and avoid the “brand name” guys, but EVERYONE was doing it. Well — and I didn’t think I’d ever say this in my lifetime — thank god for the Eagles.

Chud, McCoy, and Trestman could very well end up being solid NFL coaches, but they won’t get the benefit of the doubt. There is very little on their resumes that would excite the members of their respective fan bases. However, Chip Kelly is a different story altogether.

NOT A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK: Chip Kelly isn’t a traditionalist, which is perfect as the NFL enters a new age. Photo courtesy Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

We all know college coaches making the jump to the pros seldom work out, but Kelly has the pedigree to break that mold. In his four-year tenure at Oregon, he didn’t just develop a proven winner, he hand-built a new powerhouse. In 14 years under Mike Bellotti, the Ducks made it to a BCS game once and won at least a share of the conference championship only twice. Under Chip Kelly? They won the conference three out of four years and finished every season with a BCS game, including one national championship.

To say the man is a visionary is an understatement. This is important for two reasons. One, he understands the key to success is adaptability. What led him to a 46-7 record at Oregon isn’t necessarily going to work in the pros and he knows that. If you think he’s going to rest on his laurels, you have another thing coming. And two, he’s not afraid to go against the grain. The NFL is in a somewhat unstable era where the game is changing, evolving even, before our eyes. What used to win football games in the pros isn’t going to do that anymore. And having a coach that not only understands that but EMBRACES that gives a team an enormous advantage moving forward.

What’s really entertaining, though, is how much critics of his are hiding behind this stigma that college coaches always end up being busts in the NFL. They wax poetically about Lou Holtz and Bobby Petrino and Steve Spurrier. Also, they conveniently gloss over Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh.

Yes, exactly. If you want to say college coaches don’t work out, gladly tell that to those two men. Harbaugh has taken his team to two consecutive conference title games and Carroll turned around a spiraling franchise and squeezed out an 11-game winner that nearly took out the top seed in the NFC in Atlanta.

All of Chip Kelly’s success comes from his recruiting, you say? Jim Harbaugh had freakin’ Andrew Luck. Then he went to San Francisco and only turned around a guy’s career who we thought was going to end up being one of the biggest busts in NFL draft history. Then — THEN — when he turned that former number one overall draft pick into an effective signal caller, he benched him and unearthed an even MORE dynamic force.

If Jim Harbaugh and Chip Kelly only had success in college because of recruiting, it’s because they can sniff real talent miles away. That’s not going to change just because it’s the NFL.

And speaking of that dynamic force, Colin Kaerpernick, he and Andrew Luck and RG3 and Russell Wilson are my next argument for Chip Kelly. Remember when I said the NFL was evolving? That evolution is based around the reinvention of the most important position on the field. We’re no longer thinking of Michael Vick and Cam Newton as gimmicky running quarterbacks that can nab you a  cheap ten wins a season, we’re starting to realize that truly mobile quarterbacks who can also throw the ball effectively are the future of the league.

In his near half-decade at Oregon, mobility and speed were the basis for the Ducks’ offensive success. It’s not a proven offensive success in the NFL just yet, but that’s the thing: pioneers never ventured into uncharted territory by thinking INSIDE the box.

So forget all your Steve Spurrier comparisons. You can throw them out the window. There’s a reason why Chip Kelly was so highly sought after and that’s because these league executives see where the NFL is heading. It’s heading to a place where guys like Chip Kelly can excel.

The only people who should be upset about this move are the fans in Oregon, and that’s because they’re losing one hell of a coach. For these grieving fans, I have no consoling words. But for everyone  else complaining about the hire, I say put a sock in it.

Chip Kelly isn’t just ready for the NFL, he’s a perfect fit for this Eagles franchise.

And that’s not just because we already know he looks good in green.

NOTE: This story was originally posted on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch for NFL updates and other shenanigans.