Chip Kelly is just like Chuck D. Both urge the same thing: Don’t believe the hype.
Kelly recently had a long talk with Peter King from Sports Illustrated. King asked Kelly if there was anything that surprised him about the NFL. The hype, Kelly replied. He called the intense interest surrounding the draft “totally insane.”
Before Monday’s open training camp practice at Lincoln Financial Field, Kelly expounded on those comments. It’s not just the fanboy fascination with the draft that he finds curious. He’s also perplexed by people who are captivated by the combine.
“The fact that people would watch the combine -- there are times at the combine when I fall asleep,” Kelly said. “So I don’t know why anyone would watch on television. They’re running 40-yard dashes. The hype was the point I was talking about. It’s like anything else. I don’t care who it is. You guys are in the newspaper business. If someone is a rookie coming into the newspaper thing, I don’t think you all start applauding and say ‘Oh my god, the savior is here, our paper is saved because we just signed a kid out of Northwestern who’s really good in prose.’ It’s not that big a deal. But in football, it’s the biggest thing in the world.”
The Northwestern/dying newspapers line got a good chuckle from the media assembly. Gallows humor generally goes over well with that crowd. As for the draft, while Kelly acknowledged its importance in team building, he touched on an important point: that by pushing the draft back from April to May this year, the NFL stretched a critical point in its offseason and, as a result, artificially inflated interest.
“I think the draft is integral, obviously, in putting together your team,” Kelly said. “But it literally, from the day the Super Bowl ends until the draft -- which I think was at the end of May or the beginning of June or it may get pushed to July at some point in time -- that’s all anyone talks about. I felt the same way in college. You devote everything to the signing day. Well, how many of those guys on the signing day are going to contribute. You may have one or two of your rookies that may have an impact on your team, but the rest of them, it’s a part of having them develop.”