Chip’s Revenge

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 2.9.2017

Arguably the best coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick, may have inadvertently pulled a page out of his friend Chip Kelly’s book to win Super Bowl 51. Belichick’s team didn’t run a no-huddle, up tempo style however the amount of plays they ran and dominate time of possession had to of put a smile on Kelly’s face as the New England Patriots went on to win their fifth NFL title.

 

KELLYKelly may have been fired from two NFL head coaching jobs in under a year but some of his philosophies are grounded in truth. If your team has the ball then the other teams offensive isn’t on the field. If you run more plays than your opponent then odds are that in the 4th quarter that defense will be tired. Both proved true during the Patriots win over the Atlanta Falcons.

The Patriots ran 93 offensive plays to the high powered Falcons 42 and dominated the time of possession. They had the football for over 40 minutes while the Falcons had it for just a little over 23. While Kelly’s teams would normally reflect the the Falcons time of possession, the Patriots were able to adapt Kelly’s philosophy on their way to victory.

Super Bowl 51 TOPAt one point Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck pointed out that the Falcons offense had not been on the field in over an hour (that included the extended halftime). You add that up and it’s no wonder the Falcons defense seemed powerless to stop the Patriots offense in the last quarter plus of the game.

While you can point to several factors as to why the Patriots defeated the Falcons for their fifth title, you cannot deny that time of possession and the amount of offensive plays that the Patriots ran was a major factor in the outcome. It’s one that Kelly would be right to be proud of.

More Mouse Davis Than Bill Walsh

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 1.10.2017

Over the years we’ve written quite a bit about Chip Kelly. We’ve written how he wasn’t right for the NFL and we’ve written that he could be the next Bill Walsh. With many things, the truth falls somewhere in between.

Chip Kelly 49ersChip Kelly was fired from two NFL jobs in little over a year. The second wasn’t his fault as he was dealt an absolute oil spill but the first was his fault. More importantly there has been some talk out there that Kelly wasn’t able to adjust to the NFL. He didn’t disguise his looks and become, in a word, predictable.

NFL defenses may have figured out a way to stop Kelly’s ‘blur’ offense but the NFL also adopted some of his ideas and methods.

While at Oregon, Kelly made trips to New England to talk about the hurry-up offense with Bill Belichick and his staff. Belichick and Kelly have become good friends and there is a possibility, however remote, that Kelly could slide into the OC spot if current Patriots OC Josh McDaniels gets another head coaching gig with, ironically enough, the San Francisco 49ers.

The fact is that a lot of teams, college and pro, use some of Kelly’s principals in their offenses. It’s a lot like how every one criticized Mouse Davis’s Run’N’Shoot offense when it debuted in the NFL way back in 1989.

Many criticized the offense and in it’s purest form wasn’t very successful at the NFL level. However aspects of the offense have made it into just about every current NFL offense. Using the pass to set up the run, single back sets and having wide receivers read the coverage along with the quarterback.

Kelly’s offense and training methods are seeing a similar bubbling up across the league. Kelly embraced sports science and employed a ‘sport science coordinator’ while with the Eagles. Other NFL teams have begun to embrace the idea of maximizing athletes performance after Kelly blazed the way.

Teams have also incorporated some zone read plays, allowed their quarterback to run more often, and of course using the hurry-up or no huddle offense throughout the game instead of just at end of a half.

While Kelly may not have revolutionized the game like the late Bill Walsh did so many years ago, he did influence it significantly like Mouse Davis did back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Kelly’s NFL career will be judged by wins and losses but he has contributed much more than that.

 

Surface Fail ?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Super Bowl 50 may be set but one of the more interesting storylines to come out of Sunday’s conference championship games was the failure of the Windows tablet on the New England Patriots sideline in their game against the Denver Broncos. Turns out, the Microsoft Surface tablets failing is a pretty common thing.

The NFL released a statement on the issue on Monday evening specifically saying that the Surfaces didn’t fail.

BelichickEarlier in the day Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that the tablets failing, ‘it’s a fairly common problem’ (skip to the 5:45 mark) which is surprising but at the same time not surprising at all. They are Windows based products after all.

Microsoft’s contract with the NFL is some $400 million over five years. If four time Super Bowl winning head coach Belichick is claiming that the tablets failing is a “fairly common problem”, it makes you wonder about the frequency and if the problems were all network issues like the NFL claims.

Either way it’s certain that the technology and it’s connectivity have a ways to go. Their unreliability is probably why the NFL does not force the opposing team to stop using their tablets if one teams tablets stop working, unlike the headsets. And for you conspiracy theorists out there, according to the NFL, neither team has access to the devices until the game. 

Needless to say, it may just be a case of network connectivity….or they didn’t have the right drivers installed.

The Play That Won’t Go Away

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It’s no secret that the Seattle Seahawks called a pass play on 2nd and goal instead of a run play. It’s been debated, replayed and questioned to death but it just won’t die. In reality it’s death has provided us with a clinic on how to handle defeat.

We’re not going to replay what happened because you already know. What’s more impressive is that this play will not go away. We couldn’t forget last years Super Bowl quickly enough and now we don’t seem to want to let this one go. From major media companies to the social media stratosphere. What’s being called the ‘worst play call in Super Bowl history’ has a life of it’s own.

If you were watching the Boston Bruins at New York Rangers game on NBCSN you probably saw a tease for the Today show on Thursday where Matt Lauer sits down with Pete Carroll. It’s being promoted like a major expose or something.

Pete Carroll on Today

Even the opposing coach, Bill Belichick, is telling people to back off. Like a lot of us, Belichick knows that A) it was a great play by New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler and B) if Butler doesn’t make the play people would be pushing for Belichick and Tom Brady to retire and talking about a dynasty out in Seattle.

Instead of questioning we should be celebrating how head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson are handling the situation. They, and just about the rest of the Seattle organization, has handled the repeated questions with grace and dignity. Their coolness under fire should become a college course they’ve done it so well.

It’s called a game of inches for a reason. Now the repercussion of those inches has a life of it’s own. From the Washington Post to twitter to the intro of the Nashville Predators mascot Gnash (‘He knows to run the ball on 2nd and goal!’) before a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. You can’t escape it no matter how well the principles handle the onslaught.

 

 

 

 

What to Watch Thurs. 8/14 – Sun. 8/17

All times are PST

Thursday August 14th

Jacksonville Jaguars at Chicago Bears – 5pm ESPN: This may be the only time the Jags will ever be on anyones ‘must watch’ list….ever. But this is the only football game in town.

Friday August 15th

Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots – 4:30pm NFL Network: It’s Chip Kelly vs his old buddy Bill Belichick. Hey, it’s preseason football.

Milwaukee Brewers at LA Dodgers – 7pm MLB.tv: Could be a playoff preview.

Saturday August 16th

Seattle Sounders at Real Salt Lake – Noon NBCSN: Two top teams in the west in Salt Lake. Could Seattle finally fall out of first?

Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers – 4pm MLB.tv: Your pitching matchup, King Felix vs David Price. You’re welcome.

LA Galaxy at Columbus Crew – 4:30pm MLS LIVE: Columbus needs 3 points here to get back into the playoff picture. But that’s easier said than done with the ‘Landon Donovan Goodbye Tour’ in full swing.

UFC Fight Night – 7pm FS1: Main event features Ryan Bader (wrestler from Arizona St) vs Ovince Saint Preux (football player from Tennessee). Also Ross Pearson vs Gray Maynard and Tim Boetsch vs Brad Tavares.

Sunday August 17th

Manchester City at Newcastle United – 7:30am NBCSN: It’s a tall order for the defending champs. It’s also the best game of opening weekend for the Premier League.

Denver Broncos at SF 49ers – 1pm NFL Network: First American football game in the 49ers brand new Levi Stadium.

BC Lions at Toronto Argonauts – 4pm ESPN3: If preseason NFL Football isn’t your thing then check out the best game of the weekend in the CFL.