The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia (friend of BGN) recently published a fantastic profile on Philadelphia Eagles CEO and chairman Jeffrey Lurie. You can [click here] to read the entire piece, as you should.
For those not subscribed to The Athletic, I’ll tease a few interesting parts of the wide-ranging interview. Starting with this one:
Asked for his biggest regret as owner, Lurie says there are many, but he has trouble identifying just one. He admits that stripping Roseman of his power and giving [Chip Kelly] full control is one of them. At the time, Kelly was coming off of back-to-back 10-win seasons. As Lurie has explained in the past, he felt like expanding Kelly’s reach was a necessary step to see what he had in the coach.
“I don’t regret the hiring of him because it was done with a really good thought process,” Lurie says.
“But, yes, I would say I regret giving him the kind of authority I gave him, yeah. That’s an easy one.”
We already know Lurie regretted the Kelly decision because he fired the former Eagles head coach prior to the end of the 2015 season before then re-installing Howie Roseman as the team’s personnel chief. Still, it’s interesting to see Lurie talk about it so bluntly.
No one wants to make mistakes. You’d rather be perfect all the time if you could. But we all know that’s not realistic.
Lurie’s Kelly mistake ultimately ending up serving the team well. He realized that a model with the head coach as the team’s top personnel decision maker wasn’t conducive to success. There’s a conflict of interest there with a coach being focused on the short-term while the general manager equivalent is focused on the long-term.
Lurie’s response to the Kelly mistake was doing a 180 and hiring Doug Pederson, a head coach who seemingly has very little — if any — interest in personnel power. I’d say that model — with Pederson focusing on coaching and Roseman focusing on roster building — has worked out well considering for the Eagles so far considering they won their first Super Bowl title.
Kapadia’s interview with Lurie also touches on the topic of analytics. We know that’s an area that Lurie strongly values. At the NFL owners meetings earlier this year, Lurie said the Eagles are “pretty obsessed” with analytics. He added that: “It will always be a priority [for us].”
Lurie specifically had a good quote about the antiquated idea of “establishing the run.”
Asked now about what he thinks when he hears announcers say a team has to establish the run, Lurie rolls his eyes and looks exasperated. He takes a long pause and makes sure to choose his words carefully.
“What’s the right way to say this?” he asks himself out loud. “It’s just not a truthful way of reporting based on all the information we now have. OK? That’s sort of a nice way to say it.”
Translation: those announcers are morons.
The topic of Pederson (or most coaches, really) not running the ball enough is bound to come up multiple times through the season. And this isn’t to suggest the running game is totally worthless. But there’s plenty of evidence to conclude that passing is much more efficient than running the ball. You can tell the Eagles believe this based on how much they prioritize: quarterbacks, guys who protect the quarterback, and guys who can impede the opposing quarterback. The Eagles won a Super Bowl while subscribing to these beliefs. They’re poised for future success as well.
Again, I encourage you to subscribe to The Athletic to read the entire piece. Lurie also talks more about his family, his relationship with autism, his love for sports, and much more.
My biggest takeaway is that the Eagles are in good hands with Lurie steering the ship. That’s already how I felt anyway but an interview like this only reinforces that sentiment.