Chip the Scientist

Posted: June 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 63 Comments »

Eagles fans are having to get used to the phrase “there’s science behind why we do that” for the first time ever. Football coaches just don’t say things like that. Can you imagine Buddy Ryan ever saying “science”? Clearly Chip Kelly is a very different kind of coach.

Someone in the previous comments section brought up the question of whether Kelly and his love of science is a good thing. That’s a very reasonable question. Science in general is a good thing, but we’ve also seen junk science mixed into sports over the years with some really erratic results.

I think Kelly uses “science” as a catch-all word. To him it means a combination of logic, math, psychology, nutrition and…science.

Sure feels like some people hear the word science and picture Chip Kelly talking to a guy in a lab coat in a room full of chimpanzees where loud music is blaring. “So tell me doc, personalized smoothies plus loud pop music will definitely win us a Super Bowl?”

Kelly is keeping things much simpler. He loves to ask “why”. That’s a simple, but powerful question. Kelly is trying to figure out why coaches do things a certain way. He’s not looking to be the smartest guy in the world. Kelly wants to find smart guys and steal ideas from them. He wants to build the smartest program he can.

Think about Kelly’s attitude in regard to how he teaches players. Kelly teaches them quickly and focuses on the smartest players. This puts pressure on the other guys to keep up. Most coaches are just the opposite, trying to teach the whole group and making sure everyone is on the same page. I can’t tell you what made Kelly choose this method of coaching, but there is a reason for it. Maybe he read educational journals and saw this is something teachers had success with. Maybe it is something he picked up from a successful, but under the radar coach (lower level football). Maybe it comes from another sport. There are any number of ways he could have gotten the idea, but Chip has used it for years and it has delivered results so he sticks with it.

The true scientific method is about testing and studying results. Failure isn’t a bad thing. You learn from it and move on. I’m sure Kelly has tried things that have failed. A good coach, like a good scientist, then focuses on why the method didn’t work. Can it be changed to make it work or is it simply an idea that won’t work?

Chip’s ideas all seem perfectly logical to me. He’s cutting edge, but in a reasonable way. He is trying to get the players to eat better, but it isn’t as if he’s forcing them to go vegan. The smoothies don’t have crazy ingredients. If they were wheat germ shakes or something crazy like that, I might feel different.

I have no problem with a football coaching trying to take a logical approach to running a team. Far too often coaches do things because “that is just the ways things are supposed to be done”. Chip doesn’t care about the past. He wants results. If Paul Brown had an idea that worked well in 1948 and still does, let’s use it. However, don’t be beholden to it. If some D3 coach has an interesting idea that contradicts old school thinking but makes sense to you, try it out.

The best coaches usually shake things up with their ideas. Paul Brown did so much that you can’t choose just one thing. Tom Landry created the 4-3 defense and was innovative on offense. Bill Walsh created the West Coast Offense. Jimmy Johnson brought an emphasis on speed to the NFL.

I know there are other coaches who had new ideas that failed. The key here isn’t that you have to be innovative. Change for the sake of change isn’t a good thing. And here is where Kelly is so smart. He does embrace some very basic ideas. Big guys beat up little guys. That’s not exactly cutting edge. Kelly’s offense is built around the run game. That’s Football 101.

Kelly uses science to take these basic concepts and figure out a way to make them work better. How can I make my players bigger and stronger? How can I figure out a way to run the football in a more favorable situation?

As long as Kelly is using science the right way, I don’t see the harm in how he does things. I think science becomes an issue when you start with a conclusion and work backwards. Kelly isn’t doing that. He has no agenda that I can see. Scientists want answers. Kelly seems to have the same attitude. Rather than looking for a specific answer to back up his ideas, he is looking for the best ideas because he is focused on getting good results.

Andy Reid, Ray Rhodes, Rich Kotite and Buddy Ryan were all first time head coaches. Ryan had one year when he ran a high school team, but that was in 1959. He took over the Eagles in 1986. That experience was hardly relevant. Kelly comes in here, having been the Oregon coach for 4 years and enjoying great success (46-7).

Kelly’s ideas work and they work at the team level. The question now is if they work in the NFL. Because Kelly is willing to listen to science and be honest about the results, I tend to think they will. Kelly is willing to deal with reality. He’s not pushing a philosophy onto the world. His only agenda is finding out what helps his team to play better and win games.

It will be interesting to someday get answers from Chip on where the ideas come from. I don’t think that is going to happen until he steps away from coaching. Hopefully that will be at the end of a long, successful run as head of the Eagles.

* * * * *

From the previous comments section, ATG offered up some interesting ideas:

“I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to putting leaches in the soaking tubs to remove excess fluids, but if he starts burning cheerleaders at the stake to find out if they are witches, I’m going to have to draw a line.”

Now that’s what I call science.

* * * * *

Jason over at BGN has a funny Twitter story involving fans, Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis.

* * * * *

Someone asked me about Emil Igwenagu. He is in the running for a spot as the H-back/F-TE. James Casey will be the starter. Then you have Iggy, Clay Harbor, Derek Carrier and Will Shaw battling for a possible spot. We may or may not keep 4 TEs. Someone needs to step up and win the job. Iggy isn’t a great athlete, but he can block and that does have value in Kelly’s offense.

* * * * * has an interview with Brandon Graham. The most interesting part is when he talks about last year’s defense and the fact that no one was comfortable getting on other guys. There are a variety of reasons for that, but it is a huge point. The best units police themselves. They hold each other accountable.

I do think Trent Cole will be different this year, in terms of attitude. Jim Washburn had the DL like its own little world. I think DeMeco Ryans will be a big time leader. He’s now in Year 2 and will be more comfortable about confronting players that aren’t doing what they should. Cary Williams and Patrick Chung come over from teams that were in the last 2 Super Bowls. That can’t hurt.


63 Comments on “Chip the Scientist”

  1. 1 Alex Karklins said at 8:32 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    PFT: “Eagles’ Kelce questions teammate’s manhood on Twitter.”

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 8:43 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    Well played.

  3. 3 Iskar36 said at 9:20 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    Interesting take Tommy. I do wonder though if maybe you’re over-complicating Chip Kelly’s use of science. The times I have heard CK reference science has been in very specific examples where science can be used, and in fact, possibly has been studied carefully in controlled experiments to reach a conclusion. For example, we have heard him reference science when it comes to blasting music during practice, providing smoothies, or monitoring sleep. Sports science is a growing field and quick internet search brings up several peer reviewed journals (the same strategy used for any other field of science). Looking at the types of articles that are in some of those journals, you can easily imagine studies such as “The effect of practicing with loud music on athlete’s performances” or “Optimal sleeping patterns and how they affect athlete’s reaction times”. Those are made up titles, but relatively simple enough experiments to set up where you take a control group and a treatment group and compare how their athletic abilities are affected by music/sleep/etc. I guess, I just have been under the impression that when he says he uses science, he means he has paid attention to actual scientific studies and has incorporated those types of things into the way he runs his practices/coaches his team.

    That’s not to say though that his entire approach is “scientific based”. Of course, you’re not going to find truly scientific answers to things like why run a 3-4 vs a 4-3, and maybe beyond simple physics, you might not find a scientific answer to whether or not it is better to get bigger players, but I don’t think Kelly has referred to his reasons for that using “science”. I think that’s simply philosophical. So I agree with your post about Kelly being very logical about his approach, I just don’t think that’s where the science comes in. I think he is more specific than that. Maybe I missed a reference though. To me, it seems like he lets science guide the types of decisions that can be tested scientifically. He uses that to get a small edge, for example getting the proper amount of sleep, practicing a certain way, drinking smoothies, etc. Beyond that though, he relies on a logical and more philosophical approach as you mentioned.

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 10:45 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    The reason I wrote the column is, as I said, a few readers were asking about Kelly and his science.

    I have no problems with what he’s said and done.

  5. 5 Iskar36 said at 11:49 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    My comment was probably not clear, but I didn’t get the sense from your post at all that you had a problem with what he has said and done. I was just pointing out a different way of interpreting what Kelly means when he says “There’s a science behind it.” You seem to interpret that as basically a catch-all phrase for everything he is doing. I have interpreted it slightly differently in that he only says “there’s a science behind it” to certain things which do in fact have scientific support (in the sense of experiments being used to reach a conclusion). I guess I just don’t know that he is using it as a catch-all phrase.

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 2:45 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    No, I don’t think Kelly has science in mind with everything. That’s why I referred to his love of size and running the ball. Just simple, old school stuff.

    I referred to science as a catch-all word simply in the sense that he’s not more specific. What’s behind the smoothies? Nutrition, not science.

    The word science is loaded. It has certain connotations that affect different people different ways. I love science. I don’t have any issues with the word at all. Not all fans or media members feel the same way. Chip might help himself to mix in other words when he can. Would help for clarity and also to keep some people from reading into his comments/ideas.

  7. 7 Geagle said at 9:06 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    There is a science behind it to me means, There is a method to my madness

  8. 8 Tumtum said at 11:57 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    And its sure to be one of the little vague saying Kelly has that the media will love to glomb onto. I hated how they did it to Andy with fastballs etc.

    Guess what if we drafted Jordan and Andy was here he would of been a fastball!

  9. 9 GEagle said at 7:21 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    yeah, I despise our media. Not enough News/facts..too much trying to stir the pot. Im a friggin fan of the Eagles, I do NOT want to see our media to ANYTHING to start trouble or create rifts or do anything for that matter that could even have the slightest negative influence on my beloed birds…

    Last week, I found out that Jason Peters was going through some problems, about a day before Lurie said it and the Media caught on…so that morning I was listening to Ike Reese on the radio, and I was literally disgusted at what I was hearing..Yes he is a media member, but for one of our beloved former players to act so recklessly, knowing how our fanbase works was shitty to hear….He was basically being a rebel rouser, getting on Peters about how he could possibly be taking time off from ota’s after missing all last year, going on about how much money he makes…and the calls of fans, wanting Peters head just came pouring in..Cut him, bench him, trade him…then a day Later, Lurie releases that its a legit issue…Its one thing to get that from our Media, but from a former Eagle who always prides himself on knowing our fanbase left a horrible taste in my mouth

  10. 10 Warhound said at 3:12 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Nutrition is studied via the scientific method.

  11. 11 theycallmerob said at 5:22 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    It’s funny you use that as an example, since most of the scientific results regarding nutrition and diet are completely ignored during policy legislation. One of the greatest disconnects I can think of in our modern society.

  12. 12 Warhound said at 7:24 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    It’s so sad. Lots of evidence that people who are nurtured (including being well fed) are much less likely to become criminals, and much more likely to produce, yet this does not inform policy. It would be much more cost effective to feed every school kid two nutritious meals a day (some of the $ would come from reducing the food stamp program) than to have to treat their medical problems (and in some cases pay for incarceration) later. Sigh…

  13. 13 DJH said at 12:59 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    I tend to agree here. All of the unorthodox things Chip is doing are most likely backed up by actual scientific studies:

    Wearing heart rate monitors
    Music at practice
    Fast tempo at practice
    High # reps at practice
    Separating reps and teaching

    It’s also possible his desired measurable for each position are based on, if not science, then statistics.

    His offensive and defensive philosophies are based on experience, but I think all his teaching and preparation techniques truly are backed by science.

  14. 14 A_T_G said at 9:38 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    I made it into a post?! I feel all tingly.

    I think you explained the science connection in saying that Chip constantly asks “Why?” I have heard that simple question described as the basis for all science, and it seems clear that Chip sees the value in asking.

    The answers to that question are the rationale for the new approaches as well as the traditional ones. I guess one could still question Chips judgement in evaluating those answers, which is where all science gets tricky, but I’d hope no one sees fault in seeking the answers in the first place.

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 10:47 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    I felt like this was fair compensation for the Lasik surgeries that didn’t work exactly right.

  16. 16 A_T_G said at 7:32 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    I have actually come to enjoy the triple vision during games, it is like getting to see multiple angles all at once. And the after images are almost like built in instant replay.

    Sure, there are the crying children and screams from unprepared adults, but that’s why you threw in the sunglasses, right?

    All these “reports” and “criminal investigations” into “unlicensed” and “untrained” and “butcherous” surgeries has been brought about by jealous competitions overcharging for their “expertise” and “clean facilities” and “follow up.” Bunch of greedy “doctors” with their add-ons.

  17. 17 zbone95 said at 9:43 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    Do you think Cary Williams, (already got a super bowl ring, got a good contract, went to a honeymoon) maybe is not really that commited anymore to football in general? Sometimes when you accomplish all the things you want, you slow down and not try as hard. Idk, the signs don’t seem too good.

  18. 18 Iskar36 said at 9:49 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    I think it is way to early to say that. He has not had a great start to his Eagles career, but we haven’t even gotten to TC yet. I think missing a bunch of OTAs is noteworthy, but it isn’t something we can draw conclusions from just yet. For all we know, he could end up lighting it up at TC/preseason and into the season. We have to just wait and see. It’s frustrating that he skipped practices, but let’s put it this way, plenty of players miss all of the practices prior to TC because of injuries for example and once the season starts, you wouldn’t have known the difference, so like I said, we will just have to wait and see with Williams.

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 10:03 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    As Iskar said…way too early for that conclusion. He’ll be at the mandatory camp this week. He’ll be at TC. Let’s see how the guy looks.

    If he’s staying in top shape and studying the playbook properly on his own, he could be just fine.

  20. 20 Ark87 said at 12:29 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    I’m sort of in the same boat as Z bone. I could definitely see Williams getting on someone’s case, and that’s a bad thing. He’s not a leader. Can’t be a leader from the auditorium at your daughter’s school…or the dentist’s chair…..or wherever hot shot nfl players go on a Honey Moon. He, as just another player, can do that, but he gave up the right to get on his teammates.

    Everyone’s better off if he keeps his mouth shut, would just be drama from the mouth of somebody that thinks he’s way better than he is.

  21. 21 GEagle said at 7:43 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    After the corners I watched since Sheldon Brown left town, I ADORE Cary’s fiery attitude. I will gladly deal with the BS to finally get some gosh darn lol aggression out of our friggin corners. I will deal with the penalties, and If I gotta watch a corner get beat, I prefer him getting beat because he was aggressive, than watching passive, aloof, soft corners like Nnamdi and DRC playing scared and getting beat…I never once bitched about Assante gambling and getting beat. NEVER! It was the cost of doing business with an aggressive, game changing play maker in coverage. I bitched about Assante being a (Pick any soft derogatory name) in terms of tackling…Real Legit Shutdown corners barely even exsist anymore anyway. Any corner you get your hands on in free agency will have defficencies..I think Cary’s good will outweigh his bad..Icant say how good he will be, but his fiery competitve Nature should be a should be a significant upgrade oer anything we have seen in years..And if you build a good enough defense around him, it has been proven that you can win a superbowl against a bunch of elite QBs with Cary Williams as your starting corner.
    Yes, I would LOVE to have 53 players that are hungry like graham and Curry and professional like Barwin, Sopoaga, Avant…but that will NEVER be the case. Fact of the matter is you have to judge rookies/young players/and fringe players differently then some established Veterans who practically have starting psots already. THE CBA negotiated that these are volentary practices…you know how many Eagles have probably been “present” but sat in the air conditioned training room all day milking an injury that they could have easily played thru? and that doesnt get reported. Whats important is that every day, you have the players at impact positions present. Guys who have to learn a million different responsibilities…There is only so much you can ask a corner to do anyway..and most of what we need Cary to do, he isnt allowed to do til training camp anyway..There will ALWAYS be veterans on your team that will take advantage of the Volentary. I dont like it, but it wont ever change until the CBA changes…As long as Cary is in shape for Camp, and knows the plays so he can play fast, and be our clear cut starting CB…then I dont care what happens in June

    I dont think this huge “CRISIS” should have been treated this way,…alot of veterans hold back until the regular season.. I remember last August getting into war with fans that were Crucifying how bad Demeco looked in the preseason…He clearly was holding back going through the motions, but flipped that damn switch the moment we kicked off in Cleveland..We need to relax, and stop crucifying people prematurely,…Its this kids RIGHT to miss whatever he wants…but its NOT his RIGHT to not play like a starting CB…if he underperforms, we will have 3 years to CRucify him..why create contraversy in June?

  22. 22 ojdiddoit said at 3:21 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    hope the birds got plenty of butter on hand cause Williams gets burned crisp like toast as much as he runs his the game tape

  23. 23 Warhound said at 3:41 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Their are recent studies on creativity (bear with me) that sheds some light here. It was believed that the “peaking” of novelists, poets, musicians, chess players, physicists, et. al. at certain ages (different for each – but none beyond ~ 40-45) was inevitable. Studies now show that this is because success causes a loss of drive in that field but that creativity (unlike learning rate) is undiminished with age: it just requires new challenges. So it’s not a reach that many FBers, after success, will have less drive.

  24. 24 Mac said at 9:59 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    Some men are longer than others, big people beat up little people… you do the math.

  25. 25 Flyin said at 10:01 PM on June 2nd, 2013:


  26. 26 Jernst said at 8:25 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    “Some men are longer than others…”

    Ah, your mother’s been tellin you stories about me again, huh…

  27. 27 Mac said at 9:42 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Yep, just trying to connect the dots between, Kelce, Kelly, and Braveheart.

  28. 28 Geagle said at 9:08 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    That’s what she said

  29. 29 Flyin said at 9:59 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    Science = Knowledge. So every time you hear Chip say there is science behind it… he’s saying ” I have the knowledge of why this works”.

  30. 30 TommyLawlor said at 10:04 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    I could have gone with that take. Much shorter post.

  31. 31 Flyin said at 10:07 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    CliffNotes should hire me.

  32. 32 D3FB said at 1:03 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    But then what will Cliff do?

  33. 33 Michael Winter Cho said at 12:21 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    And what would Tommy do!

  34. 34 ohitsdom said at 10:14 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    I think reporters let Kelly get away with too much by just saying “there’s a science behind it”. I understand Kelly doesn’t want to reveal to much, but they have to at least ask the deeper questions. What is the science? I feel like they get intimidated by the word science and don’t ask any deeper questions.

  35. 35 Flyin said at 10:17 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    The thing with Chip Kelly is that he commands the room. He will take any question head on, however, you may not get the answer you were looking for, and he may make you look like the fool.

  36. 36 ohitsdom said at 8:18 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Yeah that’s definitely true, and probably with an even greater effect since he’s new and reporters are still getting used to him.

  37. 37 Iskar36 said at 10:27 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    Sheil Kapadia talked about that in his practice observation post.

    “12:23 – It occurs to me that Kelly has answered several questions about his new methods with, “There’s a science behind it.” The problem is none of the reporters (myself included) are really smart enough to delve deeper into what he’s talking about.

    Perhaps someone who is a bit more science-savvy needs to cover the
    team. It’s to the point where if we see players smashing ice cream cones into each others’ foreheads next week, we’ll probably just assume Kelly has a reason. “There’s a science behind it.””

    So clearly at least Sheil recognizes that issue, but I guess they don’t know the right ways to ask the questions in order to get answers.

  38. 38 ohitsdom said at 8:16 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Thanks! I was thinking of this quote but couldn’t remember if it was Sheil or Tim.

  39. 39 TommyLawlor said at 10:43 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    “Get away with too much” seems like a poor phrase. Chip is doing some unconventional things, but nothing that anyone seriously objects to. We’d all love to know more about how and why, but you also don’t want to spill the beans to the other 31 teams if there is something good to be gained from what he’s doing.

    If Chip ever does something that seems completely outlandish, then I think the media has an obligation to really dig. As long as his methods are based in logic, I don’t think the public is owed an explanation.

    The other caveat is if players start complaining about his methods, then we need to know why things are being done. Right now, players are buying in to what he’s doing.

  40. 40 ohitsdom said at 8:15 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    I should have been more specific. I mean he’s getting away with too much in the press conferences by just answering a question with “there’s a science behind it”. It frustrates me that the reporters seem intimidated by it (Sheil even admitted it, as Iskar36 pointed out). Reporters should be trying to get deeper and see if he’ll explain what the science is, or reference some interesting studies that prove what he is doing works. I bet there is some really interesting stuff there.

    Now I understand if at that point Chip declines to give further detail, but the reporters still have to ask.

  41. 41 Tyler Phillips said at 10:20 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    He can keep the reasoning between him, his staff and the players. I could care less about the media. No sense in giving away any potential edge to to be spread through the media.

  42. 42 Michael Winter Cho said at 12:24 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Possibilities are easy to find:

  43. 43 OregonDucker said at 12:37 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Kelly does collaborate with NIKE folks on leading sports science trends. This coupled with leaders at Track Town USA (UofO and others) gives him a deep well to draw from.

    I have also heard rumors that he has had NAVY SEALS folks collaborate with his Oregon coaching staff. I don’t know this as fact but the rumors persist from those connected to the inside of the UofO organization.

    So, Chippah as deep resources for sports science breakthroughs.

  44. 44 Warhound said at 3:26 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    They could do a search for published papers on the topic in question. Heck, read the books: “Eat to Win”, “Peak Performance”, and the part on nutrition in Arnies’ “Complete Guide to Bodybuilding”. (I have an insight that’s a bit different than most: from age 22-45 I competed at a high level in a sport that is only amateur and I have done research for two chemical companies that, at the time I worked for each, were considered to be among the 12 most innovative chemical companies worldwide.) Remember the old DuPont slogan: “Better living thru Chemistry”?. In the 80s some of my peers and I realized we were engaging in “better fighting thru chemistry”.

  45. 45 Flyin said at 11:01 PM on June 2nd, 2013:


    I really hope you make it to training camp this year. Just send Howie an email to have Jeffery’s Jet fly you in and out of Philly.

    Seriously would love to hear your first hand experience in writing and with Dave and Caplan. Been a while since you sat under the tent with Dave.

  46. 46 TommyLawlor said at 2:46 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    No idea if I’ll be up there this year.

  47. 47 SteveH said at 11:28 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    To me all of this seems really simple and I’m kind of shocked other NFL teams aren’t already doing it. You give your body the proper nutrition to help give it energy, and to give it the resources it needs to grow and repair. How could this not be something that every single major professional sports organization in America is not already doing? When teams fight and scrape for every little advantage they can, why not start with something as simple as tailored nutrition and the proper amount of sleep?

  48. 48 SteveH said at 11:35 PM on June 2nd, 2013:

    Ugh, just saw a little piece on about Eagles stats, some of these will either make you sick or blow your mind, some of the highlights (or lowlights):

    “Only seven players have laced ’em up for the Eagles in the last 45 years
    and gone on to receive induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,
    and all had notable stints with other teams in their career. Reggie
    White was drafted by the Eagles in 1985, but is remembered by many for
    the six seasons spent with the Green Bay Packers. Similarly, Cris Carter
    was drafted by the Eagles in 1987, but will be remembered for his 12
    seasons as a Minnesota Viking. The five others to enter the Hall include
    Art Monk, Mike Ditka, James Lofton, Bob Brown and Richard Dent.”

    Monk, Carter, Ditka, Dent… Hardly any true Eagles in the hall from that era.

    “While Michael Vick only played in 10 games last season, he still had
    more turnovers than the Redskins had all season (14). Over the course of
    his 10 games, Vick had more turnovers (15) than he did touchdowns (13).
    Even though the Eagles replaced Vick with Nick Foles, they still tied
    for the most turnovers in the NFL with 37. And while the Chiefs and Jets
    had just as many turnovers, no team in the NFL allowed more points off
    of turnovers (136) than the Eagles.”

    … We were first in something!

  49. 49 TommyLawlor said at 2:48 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Thanks for depressing us!

    Interesting note on the HOFers. Let’s hope Dawk changes that.

  50. 50 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 6:37 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Emphasis on spending the most resources on your most productive human assets goes back to at least Peter Drucker that I know of.

  51. 51 Jack Waggoner said at 6:43 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    You’re blinding me with science

  52. 52 TommyLawlor said at 10:48 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    I can’t believe I didn’t think of that for the title!

  53. 53 doublgee said at 11:44 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Great, now this will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day!

  54. 54 knighn said at 8:08 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Sheil noted this morning that Chip Kelly is starting to slow things down a little –

    And from The Scientist:
    “I was just guessing at numbers and figures
    Pulling the puzzles apart
    Questions of science, science and progress…”

  55. 55 P_P_K said at 8:37 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    My sense is that Chip is using the term “science” as a synonym for “logic.” There may or may not be an actual body of replicable data behind what he is doing, but there certainly seems to be a rational thought process.

  56. 56 Bdawkbdawk said at 10:18 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    So, I don’t quibble about the “There’s science behind it” stuff because, after all, science encapsulates the best methods we have. But, I do think that there are reasons why the science/statistics wave hasn’t gained as much traction in the NFL as it has in other sports. The NFL is a 16 game season, so the samples are incredibly small. And, there are so many moving parts/variables in a single play. A misplaced hand here or there, a wrong read, an uncommonly good defensive play by your opponent- these are the type of things that can seperate a winning team from a losing team and seperate the pro bowlers from the doormats.
    I have faith in Chip, but I think science is limited in this context and any gains will be limited and on the margins.

  57. 57 Warhound said at 3:44 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Good point – but the science of the body is what it is.

  58. 58 bsuperfi said at 10:23 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    I can’t comment much about the science of nutrition, weight-lifting, etc., but I’m a social scientist who conducts educational research. Whenever Chip talks about the science of how people learn, I don’t believe for a second that he’s actually using real research. There are lots of reasons for my doubt, but the two that stand out are: (1) How casually Chip throws around the idea of science and that it points to definitive, easily applicable solutions in areas like pedagogy, and (2) the complex and underdeveloped state of the actual science on pedagogy (and education more broadly).

    That said, social sciences and the hard sciences are different. I buy that there’s potentially a more robust research base underlying physical and athletic development (I just don’t know the field to say more).

    None of this is to say that I don’t think what Chip is doing has potential. I love that he’s asking why and trying to be more systematic about the little things. But to me, Chip’s answers are starting to become more grating than Reid’s. The blanket appeal to science is something we see many untrustworthy people (politicians, ahem) do when they don’t want others to dig deeper into their claims. What’s the tribe to do when the shamans speak?

  59. 59 TommyLawlor said at 10:51 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Interesting that you are getting frustrated with Chip’s answers. That hasn’t happened to me yet at all.

  60. 60 bsuperfi said at 10:55 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    I guess I’m not broadly frustrated. It’s a lot of fun to hear all these new ideas, and I’m more tuned into the interviews than I’ve ever been. But as a social scientist, all this science talk just gets under my skin. It really does remind me of bad politics. The reference to science is a shield, not an answer. For a guy that seems so into evidence, I wish Chip wouldn’t talk about it so casually.

  61. 61 Flyin said at 11:38 AM on June 3rd, 2013:

    “Now here we go dropping science, dropping it all over
    Like bumping around the town, like when you’re driving a Range Rover
    Expanding the horizons and expanding the parameters
    Expanding the rhymes of sucker MC amateurs”

  62. 62 Kevin said at 3:22 PM on June 3rd, 2013:


    A bit off-topic, but since you mentioned Landry inventing the 4-3…

    What were the most commonly used base defenses before the 4-3 and 3-4 came about? Nowadays it seems every team is either 4-3 or 3-4 or they utilize both. I know back before the forward pass was utilized, using 7 down linemen was common. But what about once the forward pass came into use?

  63. 63 Warhound said at 3:34 PM on June 3rd, 2013:

    Wasn’t Landry the first guy to statistically analyze his own tendencies and trends?