Thursday, May 24, 2012
Hating the winner: Chip Kelly
By Kevin Gemmell
Natural rivalries breed natural animosity toward opposing coaches. Unnatural rivalries breed unnatural animosity. And it seems like Oregon has been developing a lot of unnatural rivalries over the past couple of years. So continuing with ESPN.com's "Love to Hate" series this week, today's theme is all about the coach in the Pac-12 you love to hate because he wins so much.
And since the guy in Eugene has won the Pac-12 championship three consecutive years, well, it takes a lot of the guess work out of the selection process.
Lots of teams have plenty of reasons to hold, shall we say, certain frustrations toward Chip Kelly. For starters, he embarrasses your team and gets paid a lot of money in the process. His career average margin of victory is 21 points. He makes you fake injuries and laughs at you when you don't cut the grass on your field in a feeble effort to slow down his thoroughbreds.
He challenges you to games in parking lots. He flirts with the NFL, does the wine and dine thing, then says: "Gosh, you're great. But it's not you, it's me. It's what I'm going through. I hope we can still be friends."
Winning isn't the only thing Chip Kelly has done to rub opposing fans the wrong way.
He's as conventional as square wheels.
Oh, how you love to hate Chip Kelly if you're a Stanford fan. After all, he single-handedly cost Andrew Luck the Heisman two years in a row. Right? All his fault.
And what about you, Washington fan? How you love to hate him eight-fold. (OK, he wasn't there for all eight. But does that really make it easier?)
And the Civil War? He's been Sherman to Oregon State's Atlanta. Burn, baby, burn.
Kelly is a winner. In just three seasons he's amassed a 34-6 overall record and a 25-2 mark in the Pac-12. He's gone to two Rose Bowls and the national championship game. He doesn't come from blue-blood coaching pedigree or a rich NFL background. He wasn't a "big name" when he came to the conference. But his teams get it done with swagger and an unforgiving confidence. Doesn't it just make you want to jump up and down.
He closes practices -- a big point of contention with the media. As the saying goes, don't ever get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Amendment to that: unless you win the Rose Bowl. Then do whatever the heck you want.
And you know what really irks about him? He's a nice guy (unless you're a reporter covering his team). He even gave Mike Riley a ride home in the Oregon jet a couple of years ago after media day.
He's big into the military. The spring games are annual tributes and he's even gone overseas to visit and speak to troops in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan.
And then there are the Chipisms. The catchy one-liners that Oregon fans love oh so much.
Folks are anti-Kelly because his teams are everything that you want yours to be. Kelly knows that you love to hate him. And it just burns you up that he couldn't care less.