While the aftermath of the Tom Gamble dismissal has been eventful, frightening, and (at times) comical, there seems to be a lot of guess work being put into the situation. While on the surface this definitely seemed to be a general manager vs. head coach situation, it probably (like most things in the NFL) wasn't that black and white. For owner Jeffrey Lurie, this situation likely hasn't reached its breaking point and the fact that the Eagles still employ Howie Roseman AND Chip Kelly is proof. However, it does seem like a minor battle was won on the part of Roseman.
Should we really take the Gamble "parting ways" as a Roseman victory or just a lesser of evils? Really, there was no right answer in a battle that featured a relatively successful general manager with tenure against a dynamic, charismatic soon-to-be third-year head coach with a 20-12 record and division title under his belt. The Eagles could have parted ways with Roseman and allowed for Kelly to essentially hold the franchise hostage with the level of control that has been proven to be historically damaging. The team could have allowed Kelly to walk and be stuck with a roster that is missing a quarterback, an eventual successor and has a bunch of players with oddly-specific attributes. Instead of either of those two wildly-dramatic solutions, Lurie decided to allow Roseman to even the playing field.
I am not saying that Roseman is a terrific talent evaluator, because there is evidence to the contrary. Having said that, he was the general manager for the best back-to-back draft classes in the last 20 years for the franchise. He is also one of the best in the business at manipulating the salary cap, which is a not only a respected art form but is also essential to the success of the franchise. He has also made some incredibly one-sided trades that have solely benefitted the Eagles.
Kelly is a brilliant head coach and is essentially a rockstar in the football world, but does that really give him the right to ask for more power after only being in the NFL for two years? While his offensive system makes quarterbacks look better than they are, he hasn't really developed one or pounded the table to draft one high either (that we know of). He has also just made the playoffs in one season and has shown an admirable yet odd loyalty to several mediocre players. Add in the fact that he wanted to draft a player that he kept as a healthy scratch for an entire season in the fifth round and you can see why he may not be the best at evaluating professional talent.
Whether they want to admit it or not, both Kelly and Roseman need each other. Sure, Roseman could become a general manager elsewhere, but that would leave him with the options of hiring the likes of Eric Mangini and other retreads. Sure, Kelly could go back to college or coach another NFL team, but he'd be hard pressed to find a more open-minded and forward-thinking organization than the Eagles. Roseman has proven that he can find talent and Kelly has shown he can coach it, but they just need to find the balance that the Gamble "firing" may have created.
The flip side to this is that everyone is upset. Roseman reportedly was upset about Kelly's snarky comments in his end of the year presser that made him look like a glorified "numbers guy." While Kelly is all but certain to be annoyed to have his "football man" gone. This could end poorly but it'd say a lot about the two men.
If you've always gotten along with your boss or co-workers, congratulations you're in the minority or you work for yourself. Kelly signed up for this and Roseman brought him here. Both should have known what they were getting into, so it might be smart for them to act like it. This isn't Buffalo or Cincinnati or Minnesota, this is Philadelphia where the media holds nothing back and neither do the fans.