Chip Kelly, Zeke and Losing with Class

Chip Kelly

Ezekiel Elliot and Chip Kelly both lost football games this past weekend, and they both came to the same conclusion about exactly why.

They were out-coached.

The nuance comes when you consider their roles.  Elliot is a junior tailback for Ohio State and shared his thoughts in a post-game interview.  He went to essentially quit on his team by announcing he was heading to the NFL despite having two games left and another year of eligibility.

Kelly, head coach and GM of the Philadelphia Eagles, made his comments at a similar press conference but in a moment of introspection, accountability and honesty.  He then re-committed to fixing the problem.

  • Is this an object lesson in maturity?  Maybe
  • A bad day for someone not used to adversity?  Probably

But I think the real lessons for the rest of us reach well beyond the gridiron.  How do we as parents raise kids in the “me” generation to be more Chip Kelly and less like Ezekial Elliot?

We do it by instilling in our kids three key things Chip Kelly’s generation understood well.

  • Humble yourself and know your role
    Sadly in 2015 entitled children and their enabling parents have missed this lesson. A teacher takes your child to task and your first inclination is to go fight the battle with that teacher on your child’s behalf.  An official makes a poor call and you berate, then blame them for your team’s loss.  Previous generations supported the teachers, coaches and other leaders and expected the same from their children.
  • Win with class, lose with honor
    Supporting your children is great, but somewhere on the bullet train to self-esteem we whiffed. Your job as a parent isn’t to become your child’s best friend and cheerleader, it is to prepare them for life outside your home.  This means coping skills.  Blaming others and a lack of empathy are natural inclinations but your job is to help your child un-learn them and adapt.  Keep them humble in defeat and gracious in failure.  Model the same (something this author needs to always remember)
  • Team above self
    Teach your kids that role-playing in sports and life is inevitable.  A sixth man can be just as valuable as a starter.  You can’t always be the star or  take the game-winning shot.  If your coach wants you to focus on defense, you accept it and do your best.  If you coach buries you on the bench you accept the playing time you get and work harder at practice.  Teach your child to put a chip on their shoulder and be willing to earn it the hard way.  Expect adversity and adapt.

And all of this may seem intuitive to the point of being not even worth mentioning.  But I completely disagree.  As a nation we are raising way more Ezekial Elliots than Chip Kellys.  And it is our job as parents is to ask why.


Posted by

Christian. Father. Hawkeye. Male pattern baldness survivor.

7 thoughts on “Chip Kelly, Zeke and Losing with Class

  1. And yes, I get that I am contrasting an adult with a seven-figure paycheck with a student-athlete, but I still contend the difference in attitude has more to do with the generations than the ages.

  2. Isn’t it a little early to declare Zeke has quit on his team? If Zeke runs for 300 yards against Michigan, will you apologize? Didn’t he blame the right people – his coaches who did call a horrible game, as Urban admitted afterwards? Your column doesn’t acknowledge that Chip did the same thing – passed much of the blame to his running backs coach vs. taking it himself.

    I guess Duce Staley must be of Zeke’s generation, too?

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I suppose is all depends on your definition of the term “quit”. Declaring that you are bailing for the NFL when you still have your teams biggest game versus a hated rival on the horizon is poor form no matter how you slice it. Even if you play the following week, it is clear where your head is.

      He’s an emotional kid who lost, I get that.

      He’s also been in the media cross-hairs for long enough to know the appropriate response following a loss and the proper forum for airing grievances. Protip: it isn’t after a 2.8 yards a carry performance for a supposed Heisman contender.

      As for Kelly, his issues are likely personnel related (which he also owns). And I haven’t heard him lay blame anywhere else.

      1. I think your article was good, but I think you just picked two people in the news this weekend, as opposed to two people that might have really deserved it. Ezekiel Elliott has been a solid citizen at tOSU and in a moment of anger at losing his first game in years, one in which the coaching staff completely blew the game, he said some intemperate – which was uncharacteristic. CBSSportsline had a great article with 3 NFL scouts takes on it and they were all far more favorable than yours; of course, one of them may have also signed Greg Hardy, so consider the source.

        As for Chip, just Google Chip Kelly blames Duce Staley. All of the top responses describe that, as expected, Chip passed the blame elsewhere.

        The article had good lessons, but used bad examples to get there. I should also note, as a proud Iowan, I hate tOSU.

  3. Was it on the 66 yard run that Ezekiel Elliott quit on the Buckeye’s or one of the other 29 carries he had in the game? Michigan should be worried that if he got 7.1 yards a carry and two touchdowns on the #10 team in the country after quitting, what would have been the result if he announced he was coming back for another year?

    While reasonable minds can disagree about his maturity, you owe the kid an apology for saying he quit on his team.

    1. I agree he showed a lot of maturity in coming back and playing tough. That is impressive, and I fully admit he’s a young man who had a bad day and let emotion get the best of him. Been there myself.

      What I also find interesting is the amazing coaching job by Urban to rally his team who seemingly lost 90% of their motivation, was in-fighting and focused internally. You’ve been a vocal critic of his, you have to admit there was some coaching and leadership displayed here by both player and coach.

      1. I still don’t think I ever read the words, “I apologize….”

        I will freely acknowledge that St. Urban coached ’em up – he has many critics, but none of them have ever said the man can’t coach young men to play football. Some have said that he is a hypocrite and used Tim Tebow’s halo to shroud what was a clearly out of control football team in Gainesville, but come Saturday, that team was ready to play.

        You’re right that I am critical, but I prefer my villains of the black hat variety – a Jerry Tarkanian or Al Davis, but not one that steals from the collection plate at the same time he’s saying, “Peace be with you,” to his pew-mates.

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