There is so much good stuff in this article, but it’s important to highlight the key factor that led Mathis from Philadelphia to Denver. As Mathis said to Klis:
There were many things that Chip had done that showed me he wasn’t building a championship team. Two of the main issues that concerned me were: 1. A never-evolving, vanilla offense that forced our own defense to play higher than normal play counts. 2. His impatience with certain personality types even when they were blue-chip talents. The Broncos team I was on would have eaten Chip alive. I don’t think he could have handled the plethora of large personalities.
The first point should be a strong point against Kelly being some revolutionary genius. But the second point is more important, and it’s is a trap that so many coaches coming from college fall into. It’s easy enough to run over college-aged personalities, but players in the NFL have been through that gauntlet before, and aren’t interested in getting run over again after that experience.
I also have to highlight how he demanded to leave Philly, in a way that is a prime example of Mathis’s humor:
Most players would use their agent to handle such a task. Mathis directly texted Kelly with a YouTube video of Engelbert Humperdink singing, “Please release me, let me go. …
Given the injuries that he was going through, I would have preferred “I’ll hold the pain, release me“, but if the goal was maximum annoyance of Kelly, pure 1980s ballads are the way to go.