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Philadelphia Eagles were one of the healthiest NFL teams for the third year in a row

Sports science works!

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

There were a number of factors that ultimately led to Chip Kelly's downfall in Philadelphia. Sports science was not one of them. For the third year in a row, the Eagles were one of the healthiest teams in the NFL, according to an annual study from Football Outsiders. Here's how the Eagles ranked in "Adjusted Games Lost" (AGL) during the course of Kelly's tenure:

2015 - 6th
2014 - 5th
2013 - 1st

The Eagles were 18th in 2012 before Kelly arrived, so he really turned things around. Three years also seems to be big enough of sample size to suggest there's value to his sports science methods.

But now that Kelly is gone, will the Eagles be able to hold onto their health advantage? Maybe. The team is going to keep their sports science program around under new head coach Doug Pederson. Here's what one NFL insider said earlier this offseason:

"You’re going to see sports science, that’s going to stay. Their own version of it. I think they know that the sports science plan has got to be altered. The way they implement it with Doug. Doug’s certainly on board with it. There’s value to sports science. More teams are using it. The buy-in really went away with Chip under his last year. Players didn’t like the way it was administered. I kind of hinted at that a little bit before, I’ll go a little bit more in depth. The problem that we saw under Chip Kelly and sports science … the players would get their assignments during the week from everyone but Chip."

It's interesting how Kelly's impact on the Eagles still remains despite him being gone. The team fired him but they are not eradicating everything that had to do with him. They're keeping sports science. They're extending some of the players Kelly helped bring in, most notably Sam Bradford. Seven out of 15 assistant coaches on Pederson's staff served under Kelly. And so on.

In any case, keeping sports science makes sense. It's clearly worked for the Eagles in recent years and they'll hope it helps the team again moving forward.

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