It was funny reading reports Wednesday night concerning Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. They were, to quote Pro Football Talk, almost spontaneously and simultaneously about the Philadelphia Eagles being interested in Kelly for their vacant head coaching position. The Eagles' interest was so piqued that they interviewed Kelly following the BCS Championship game. As I stated before -- and tweeted out more than a month ago -- Kelly was on NFL radars. A coach with one losing record in 23 years of coaching does not go unnoticed.
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But all of a sudden the media was caught with their pants down regarding a candidate they did not take seriously. Now reports have Kelly returning to South Bend. This, of course, is after Kelly during the week, leading up to the game, stated his only interest was Notre Dame. Love him or loathe him, Kelly has won wherever hes coached; that is why he is of NFL interest.
Speculation runsamokin the media, where reporters were quick to link the Browns, Bears, pretty much any head coaching vacancy on the planet to Kelly as most teams seem to interview the same candidates. Its called slap-it-out-there journalism and hope it sticks. It normally is camouflaged as fact with an unidentified source to provide validity because, is anyone really going to check anyway? The writer sure isnt going to reveal any source.
As I have written before, Bears GM Phil Emery is not a newbie to scouting players and coaches. There are plenty of files regarding both. The Bears, and every other NFL team, have walked weekly through the Irishs door in South Bend, Cincinnati, or Central Michigan to scout players and coaches. General managers and scouts are present every college weekend to scout talent of interest. It is not regulated just to the young men running around on the field. How coachs delegate, their decision making, and sideline demeanor is all scouted, assessed, and filed.
An NFL presence is even greater if universities are located in proximity of an NFL team. For instance, the Bears are in proximity to Northwestern, Illinois and Notre Dame. They have had plenty of opportunity to converse with Kelly, along with the Cleveland Browns, who are also within proximity and searching for a new head coach. Contact for interest and interviewing a candidate are two completely different actions.
For instance, Jon Gruden is still the number one coaching candidate on my Chicago Bears head coaching list. No one in the media has indicated Gruden as a serious candidate. After all, interviewing only seems to be what counts among the media. I wonder if Grudens been contacted though...hmm...