Ask your typical NFL person to rank the most intriguing head coaches heading into the season and Chip Kelly is likely a unanimous No. 1. In fact, he may even take up spots 2, 3, 4 and 5 for good measure. In a league where winning and losing is determined by executing a similar scheme better than the next guy, Kelly is different. He's a shiny new bicycle that you can only open once you first crack open a Rubik's Cube.
At the heart of it all, the reason for why Kelly does what he does, is one simple question.
“I’ve always been a ‘why’ guy,’’ Kelly told Peter King. “Like, I want to know why. And a lot of times the why is crazy. I understand it. I just always have been inquisitive. The only thing I won’t accept is because that’s the way we’ve always done it... The inquisitive part is why do people do this or that? I think the one thing we’re very conscious of is we don’t have an ego in our program. So it’s not: We are gonna do it our way no matter what and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. If it makes sense, and the science is behind it, we’ll do it."
"Why" led Kelly to craft a playbook with four running plays, as he told a coaching clinic in 2009. You wouldn't believe it if anyone other than the man himself told you.
Many people, including those inside the game and even on his own teams, see something that isn't there. They see gaudy point totals and mega yardage and assume Kelly's teams make hay through the air, while they actually ran the ball more than three times out of every five snaps in 2011 and 2012.
In truth, Kelly just wants to get the ball in the end zone by any means necessary.
“First off, when he came, I was actually worried whether we’d throw it at all," Eagles quarterback Michael Vick told MMQB. “But we just play the numbers. We know why he’s doing what he does. He explains it. We know the ‘why.'"