Eagles may have another Dick Vermeil in Chip Kelly
Chip Kelly has created quite a buzz since his arrival in Philly … not unlike the one generated by Dick Vermeil back in ‘76. The similarities are striking: West coasters, innovative, energetic, press savvy and detail oriented. Both inheriting teams that played well under their potential … fractured on the field as well as in the locker room. Both bringing hope to a city desperately in need of a winner.
Coach Vermeil preaches that to be a winner you have to bring energy & enthusiasm to the workplace and both he and Chip make their predecessors look like they were in a coma. Some of the vets in both era’s had grumbled about practice pace, but heck, like Dick says “nobody ever drowned in sweat!” Chip has brought in human-sized boom boxes and Dick brought in torturous practices … every practice at “thud” tempo, in full pads, which is forbidden by today’s CBA.
Our left tackle Stan Walters said it best when asked about Coach Vermeil’s 3-hour double sessions at Widener: “He’s trying to kill the first 40 to find the last 5!” (One of my favorite lines in Invincible.) Chip is making the most of the 90 minutes or so the CBA allows with a staggering pace that is fun to watch. Some may say it resembles a track meet which is ironic because Dick actually had the UCLA track coach instruct us in running in Chester back in ’76. Being a track guy, like I was back then, I was right in my element with this guy.
Right now Chip is the toast of the town and would probably win a mayoral contest but only time will tell whether he will earn the adoration that Dick Vermeil has here after those years. Not only from the best football fans in the world but from his players. Sunday night Bill Bergey had a cookout with all of Dick’s guys from the Del Val Area attending and it was a night never to be forgotten. And, yes, Dick shed a few tears when he started to talk about teammates and friendships and a chapter in our lives that will be cherished forever.
One of Coach’s favorites quotes was this: “an opportunity is worth to a person exactly what their preparation enables them to make it.”
It’s all yours now Chip and here’s hoping you make the most of it.