FIESTA BOWL GAME DAY; Will The Fiesta Bowl Be Chip Kelly’s Swan Song?

Will Oregon win the 42nd Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl?

Experts believe they will.

Will Oregon outgain Kansas State in total yardage when the two teams meet this evening at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale?

Everyone thinks so.

Will this be the final game Chip Kelly walks the sideline as Oregon’s head coach?

That’s the million dollar question just hours before kickoff.

It’s likely Kelly will take the huge payday and jump to one of the several NFL jobs that are currently open.

According to the Washington Post, team officials from the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles will meet with Kelly on Friday for official job interviews for their respective teams.

Kelly has certainly toted the company line this week in Arizona when asked about his pending leap to professional football.  At every press conference when Kelly’s met reporters, his answer has remained the same.

“I’ve got a game to play,” Kelly said at Wednesday’s final Fiesta Bowl press briefing.

“We’re playing in the Fiesta Bowl.   That’s the biggest thing in my life.   If I allowed other things to get into my life, then they would be distractions, but they aren’t.  Our focus 100 percent is on the Fiesta Bowl.”

Nice answer, but not necessarily the one reporters were after.

Chip Kelly on the Oregon sidline

No matter which way the question was asked, Kelly maintained his same stance on the subject.   All he knows is he’ll be on the sideline Thursday night coaching the Oregon Ducks against Kansas State.

When asked if he expects to field offers from NFL teams once the Fiesta Bowl is done, Kelly maintained his distance from the subject.

“I don’t expect anything” Kelly said.   “I’ve said this a million times.   I’m never surprised by anything.  I do not know what the future holds  I do know we have a football game tomorrow night and I’m going to be there.”

Translation,….Kelly will be in his nicest suit come Friday morning when he sits down with the first three NFL teams that have come to Phoenix to interview him.

Wednesday’s final media opportunity with Kelly was a room filled with cameras and newspaper reporters hoping to grab something big or specific relating to Kelly’s possible departure.

Not only was the room filled with local media outlets who cover Oregon and Kansas State on a regular basis, there were also reporters from outlets who typically cover the NFL – the NFL Network, USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

When asked by the Inquirer about his offensive scheme adapting to the NFL, Kelly provided a more descript answer considering he’ll be interviewing with the Philadelphia Eagles, and why not use the press to his advantage.

“I don’t think anybody knows any answers, until someone does it,” Kelly said.

“I think the Washington Redskins are doing a pretty good job – I forgot the name of their quarterback, ( Kelly, trying to be humorous, was referring to Robert Griffin III ) – but he’s done a decent job, and the kid at Carolina ( Cam Newton ) has done a pretty good job.  It depends.  I don’t know.   I’ve never coached in that league.   I’ve visited practices and talked to people about it, but the one thing about that, the one thing about everything is, you’ve got to have good players.”

In a moment of what seemed to be true sincereity, Kelly did reveal some inner feelings about his team, specifically his seniors who will play their final game in a Duck uniform Thursday night.

” That one’s going to hurt, to be honest with you” Kelly explained. 

“That group, Kenjon, Dion, Kiko, Michael Clay, they’re special.   They deserve all the credit.   They’re just an unbelievable bunch of guys to be around.  I think our players have stayed extremely focused at the task at hand.   Our players play for each other.   There’s not better players to play for than those guys that get their last chance to play in an Oregon uniform.   That’s going to be pretty sad when that one comes around.”

There’s no question Kelly truly has affection for his team and for the University that has given him the opportunity to be in the position he his today.   Without the insight of Mike Belotti and Oregon, Kelly might still be an offensive coordinator in New Hampshire or another lower tier program.

Last January, Kelly turned down the job offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers citing “unfinished business.”

Will that unfinished business be a win this evening in the Fiesta Bowl?

Only Chip Kelly knows.

Will he go or stay?  

I believe Kelly has already called the movers. 

It’s now just a matter of giving them the correct address!  

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