Your dreams of seeing your team win a national title are crushed. Once you process the devastation, you try to look ahead to the future as best you can, knowing that your team is in great shape for the future. Then, the architect of that team decides to interview for another job. Your football world spirals again. The recruits you’ve been looking forward to seeing next year are trying to process the whirlwind themselves, resulting in some deciding to find greener pastures themselves.
This all happens in the span of a week. This is what it’s like being a Notre Dame football fan.
Or as the audio montage in my post earlier this week put it:
It feels like somebody took my heart and dropped it into a bucket of boiling tears. At the same time somebody else is hitting my soul in the crotch with a frozen sledgehammer. And then a third guy walks in and starts punching me in the grief bone and I’m crying and nobody can hear me because I’m terribly, terribly, terribly, alone.
While I initially posted that audio as a tongue-in-cheek joke about our sports-paint, I’ll be damned if the above quote didn’t just play out for the entirety of this week.
But to be frank, I really don’t begrudge Kelly one bit for his interview with the Eagles. Yes, I do remember what he said prior to the this week about the Notre Dame job and the NFL, but I understand what he is doing.
Look, if a leader in your industry calls you, you are going to listen (and if you don’t, you are crazy). You might believe you are set in your current situation, but you just don’t know what might be on the other side of that fence you never bothered to peak over. Worst case scenario: they don’t like you or you don’t like them and the status quo remains. Best case scenario: you have an unexpected job offer that can boost your career. Even better, you don’t have to take it. You can take it to your current employer and try to negotiate a better deal for yourself.
Now, in our world, these conversations can easily be kept quiet and never see the light of day. In the world of the NFL, a simple phone call becomes an instant headline.
Brian Kelly had no chance in hell to keep this story quiet even if he wanted to. And once the story broke, a myriad of Notre Dame fan reactions broke out ranging from “here we go again” to “get rid of that bastard for even talking to another team.”
However, this is how the “game” is played. Chip Kelly did it at Oregon this year on the heels of doing the same damn thing to them last year. Bill O’Brien talked to the NFL, but decided not to hang Penn State out to dry with all the NCAA sanctions they’ve been hit with. Both coaches saw sizable raises and both were welcomed back with open arms for “staying loyal” to their teams despite each decision and NFL flirtation being nothing more than a devise for a raise.
Should Brian Kelly do the same, the reaction will likely be split at best even though it shouldn’t be. Kelly is simply trying to secure the best deal possible for himself either at ND or the next level and according to some reports, this all isn’t just for his own benefit.
Yes, the timing is awful, considering that Irish are still licking their wounds after Monday night. However, there isn’t really a “good” time for this at all. If anything, the current recruiting dead period might just be the best of all possible times to explore such possibilities as it limits the amount of contact opposing coaches can have with recruits (one phone call during the week). It’s no guarantee that some kids might not take the news so well, but it’s surely a better option than before the title game or down the home stretch to signing day when it’s open season.
And yes, I will be pissed if Kelly leaves. I think he’s done a great job here and has laid a foundation that he could build upon for years and years should he choose to. While I would understand the logic of a potential departure, I certainly don’t want to go back into the dark abyss of a Davie-Ty-Weis era again.
However, should Kelly decide to leave, there will be a certain irony to it.
The day Kelly was hired, the fanbase was already divided on him. In his first season back-to-back losses to Tulsa and Navy sealed his fate for some in year one. His vocal desire for field turf and a jumbotron didn’t help matters for him either, nor did a second 8-5 season that featured simply gut-wrenching losses. Trust me, you won’t have to look far for such comments either, I’m sure you can easily find them in our own archives.
Yet now Kelly should be vilified because he isn’t loyal?
This is why we can’t have nice things. Let the situation play out and let the chips fall where they may. Save the judgements and proclamations of Kelly’s intent when the dust settles.
After all, this is the same 125 year old football program that built by a man that threatened to quit if a stadium wasn’t built and helped sell Studebakers on the side for some extra cash is it not?
I’m not going to kid myself, everyone is only interested in Kelly news this week. So let’s kick off the news links by happily eliminating one possible NFL team from the list.
So that just leaves the Eagles. And the Eagles have their eyes on more than just Kelly. IT’S GRUDEN! Kinda.
Should Kelly leave, he would make history. Seriously, nothing like this has ever come close to happening before.
Not even a full week after the title game and we are back to the opposite end of the ND News Cycle. We are right back to “it’s too hard to win at ND” in no time flat.
This is a good time to remind you that Kelly currently has zero offers from other teams. But that isn’t stopping people from making lists of possible replacements for him.
Finally, I think we should pull an Alabama circa 1973. After all we won the regular season and there is a poll that still has us #1. Works for me!
There is no beer this week.
Firstly, because the theme of this week is that we can’t have nice things. Secondly, I have had zero time since I’ve been home to consider a suggestion. Thirdly, our former co-founder MQ has apparently sworn off beer, so I can blame him for this.
Finally, after a week like this, whiskey, not beer, is needed.