Yesterday, the Niners hired Chip Kelly as head coach. As the author of the book The Contrarian Edge for Football Offense and the biggest booster I know of of the warp-speed no-huddle offensive tempo, you would think I would love the hire.
But there is something about Kelly that I do not like. I can’t put my finger on it.
Also, I wrote seven other books on football coaching, not just Contrarian Edge. As with all my how-to books on real estate investment, baseball coaching, self-publishing, succeeding, and protecting yourself from hyperinflation and depression, I say you have to get the whole big picture right, not just one or two parts of it.
In my Succeeding book, I noted the phrase ‘life is a marathon, not a sprint.” I approve of that admonition that to succeed you need to sustain the correct behaviors over a long period, not just do one burst of skill. But on page 32 I also said that life is a decathlon, not a sprint.You can’t just be good at one aspect of life for a brief period. You have to be good at all the pertinent aspects of the career you choose for the duration.
Kelly is good at contrarian, warp speed offense, but a head football coach also has to be good at defense and special teams and drafting the right players and recruiting and retaining the right coaches and free agents, and at maintaining the right mindset on the team.
There is also a political skill that is out side my area of expertise and, not coincidentally outside my comprehension and interest. When you work for an organization, you have to stay on the good side of the powerful within that organization. That almost invariably requires compromises of your integrity and dignity. I talk a lot about how to deal with those in my Succeeding book. See also my web articles on OVUM and OPUM.
I don’t do those. I also work in a one-man “organization” in my home office. There is a ton of detail on that in my book How to Write. Publish, and Sell your Own How-To Book.
It may be that people who write contrarian books and who run contrarian offenses, as I and Kelly did, NEED to work in one-man organizations and only in one-man organizations. That is a big part of the conflict in my Unelected President novel.
We shall see with Kelly. He seemed to do fine at Oregon. He had a losing season in 2015 in Philadelphia. And I don’t think it was from running a warp-speed, contrarian offense. It was because of not being the sort of decathlete the NFL head coach position requires. My son, Dan, says his overall record at Philly: 10-4, 10-6, 7-9—was not that bad and that Kelly apparently simply did not get along with the boss. Dan additionally says that I kelly wins his first game next season, he ill have a higher NFL winning percentage than Pete Carroll.
Chip off the old block—Dan that is.