When Addressing the Media, Chip Kelly Has a Lot of Bill Belichick in Him

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 23, 2013

Apr 26, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly addresses the media during a press conference at the NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

We're still getting used to Chip Kelly, but it's clear the new Philadelphia Eagles head coach doesn't fear standing out or doing things differently. We already know he'll bring a very unique offense to the NFL, and that he'll probably run a lot of plays in short spurts of time. And we found out this week that he'll break from unofficial protocol by making his guys work on Tuesdays throughout the regular season.

Kelly's approach to the mandatory time he spends with the media has also been rather novel. Like pal Bill Belichick—who this week had his surname used in verb form to describe someone who doesn't share details—Kelly isn't keen on sharing details with reporters. He is often short and not-so-sweet with his press conference answers. Like Belichick, he can also bring some solid dry humor to the table in order to subtly mock questions he doesn't care for.

Take his Thursday press conference at the team's facility. Here's how he answered the first three questions, according to a transcript released by the team:

Question: Can you kind of talk about what's behind the big signs that you guys use and why you went that route in college and brought it to the NFL?

Coach Kelly: No. (Laughter.)

Next question?

Question: Can you elaborate on that?

Coach Kelly: No, we're not ‑‑ we could tell you what all our signals are, too, but that's not going to help us.

Question: Just why you went that route.

Coach Kelly: Honestly, no, we can go on to something else. I'm not going to explain why we go through that whole thing.

And later in the same presser:

Question: You've said several times that DeSean can be as good as he wants to be.

Coach Kelly: Have I?

Question: You've said several times that DeSean can be as good as he wants to be.

Coach Kelly: Have I?

Later, when the reporter who wants to know about the big signs just won't give up:

Question: Different players, did they kind of chip in and say, hey, let's do a cheesesteak, let's do a Ben Franklin thing and things like that? Did they give different ideas?

Coach Kelly: I have no idea what a Ben Franklin thing is, so you lost me on that.

Question: Well, either a Ben Franklin or a cheesesteak and all that stuff. Did they say, hey, let's do a picture of this -- 

Coach Kelly: You're still on the sign thing, right?

Question: Yeah, I think it's great. 

Coach Kelly: I have no idea. No, they have not. Not to my knowledge.

And, finally, some Chip Kelly comedy:

Question: Philosophically or logistically is there a unique approach you take toward road trips or road games?

Coach Kelly: We fly if at all possible.

Everything above is straight out of the Belichick playbook.

I'm not suggesting this is problematic. Obviously, as a member of the media, I'd prefer to get some solid quotes and soundbites. And let's keep in mind that the media is—at its core—working on behalf of the fans, who indirectly pay Kelly's salary.

Still, Kelly doesn't have to shed light on anything he doesn't feel needs illumination. I get it, and actually find it kind of funny. I get more enjoyment out of watching Belichick press conferences than any other coach, mainly because it just feels like I'm watching Ron Swanson:

It shouldn't come as a major surprise. He didn't exactly serve up a lot of quality soundbites at Oregon, either, and gained a bit of a reputation for being short and grumpy with the media there. You can find dozens of examples on YouTube.

It should also be noted that some of Belichick's players say he's hilarious. Kelly may or may not be as drool with his guys, but it does seem as though he has a very different demeanor with them than he does with the media. He admitted that and explained the difference in 2011:

I'm different with our players because I trust our players and I'm with them every day and I understand what they're all about. And I'm like that with everybody. If I—it ain't gonna be Kumbaya and hug you the first time I meet you. But if I see you every day and I understand what you're about every single day and that you share the same vision that I have, then I'll die for ya."

The good news for those who cover the Eagles is that they'll see Kelly pretty much every day going forward, so there will be opportunities to warm up to him. The bad news is that reporters rarely "share the same vision" that coaches have, and Philly is a notoriously competitive media market in which few punches are pulled. 

So expect to keep attempting to pull teeth, guys.


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