Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who was fired with one game left in the season, had made himself persona non grata with the players, organization, and especially owner Jeffrey Lurie, with the last straw apparently coming when Kelly forced Lurie to change the date of Lurie’s Christmas party to fit Kelly’s schedule.
Lurie had delineated his zealous desire for warmth in his organization even before the revelation of the Christmas party issue was raised. The day after he fired Kelly, he stated, “You’ve got to open your heart to players and everybody you want to achieve peak performance. I would call it a style of leadership that values information and all of the resources that are provided and at the same time values emotional intelligence. I think in today’s world, a combination of all those factors creates the best chance to succeed.”
CBS Sports reported that Kelly balked at attending Lurie’s Christmas party on its scheduled Monday night, forcing it to be delayed until a Friday afternoon. One source claimed, “That’s just part of a long list of reasons why Jeffrey made this move, but the whole thing with the Christmas party just epitomizes the split from what Jeffrey wants the Eagles to be, and what he felt like they were becoming.”
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that “Kelly argued Monday night would disrupt the coach’s planning for the week—a fair enough claim—but Lurie apologized to the organization for the haphazard way the party was conducted this year and told others it would not happen in that fashion ever again.”
CBS Sports alleged that Lurie had started to wonder whether Kelly could relate to the players or staff, adding some of Kelly’s own coaches disliked his tactics. Apparently Kelly utilized executive Ed Marynowitz (who was also fired) as an intermediary in his relations with the scouting department and other staff.
Kelly’s difficult relationship with former general manager Howie Roseman, a favorite of Lurie’s, also factored strongly in Kelly’s firing, according to the CBS report. Roseman has been reinstated to run the team’s operations in the wake of Kelly’s dismissal.
Kelly’s relationship with his players had already fallen apart, long before his firing. As reported by Breitbart, “Eight-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Jason Peters allegedly pulled himself from a game last week because he didn’t want to play for Kelly’s team with the playoffs out of reach.” Brandon Boykin, a former Eagle, said, “He acted like he was better and smarter than people at his level, and that’s where the respect was lost.” Another former Eagle added, “I know there were reports that Chip lost the locker room this season. I can tell you, he never had the support of the team this year. It was a toxic situation from the moment I arrived. Those guys in that locker room almost universally despised him.”