Why does everyone think Chip Kelly is so great?

He’s a good coach, sure, but it’s not like he’s in a class by himself.  He hasn’t even won a championship.  Seems to me that most of his team’s success is built on their superior speed, which is not going to work at the pro level, where there is less difference between players’ abilities.

There was big article by Tim Livingston a few months ago about how awesome Kelly is. It’s a good article,  but it doesn’t convince me that he is going to change the game.  So he understands statistics and probability; as Livingston himself notes, Bill Belichick has been doing the same thing for years, and it’s won him a lot of games. But it’s also far from infallible.

Here’s how I see it: Kelly knows the probabilities better than most coaches, and in most games, has the talent to execute plays flawlessly against less gifted opponents.  Against equal opposition, it may still provide a slight advantage, but there is no special reason for thinking that Kelly’s pro players will necessarily be able to out-perform their opponents.

In other words, Kelly has made following the probabilities look like more of magic formula than it is by defeating second-tier college teams.  Am I wrong?

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