There are a lot of things that Chip Kelly says that are really funny, and I think he intends them as funny, but it doesn't come across like that. It's a dry wit, but sometimes it's so dry it makes Death Valley look like Lake Tahoe.
Not the case at Chip's pre-Civil War Tuesday press conference. After Oregon's loss to USC on Saturday night, Chip said that Matt Barkley was the best quarterback that the Ducks had seen in in a game this season (and that's true- Barkley threw for 75 more yards and one more TD against the Ducks than Andrew Luck- and had no picks. Also, Barkley's team won)
Well, somehow this got around that Chip said that Barkley was better than Luck overall. So Chip was peppered with questions about that during the Pac-12 teleconference call at his presser.
He was asked if he really felt that Barkley was better than Luck (Chip reiterated that he didn't say that). He was asked to rank the Pac-12 quarterbacks as if he was voting for them, a hypothetical question. (You want to get shut down by Chip Kelly? Ask him a hypothetical question). He was asked if he thought that Barkley should be a Heisman candidate. He was asked if Barkley should be a top-ten NFL pick. And on and on and on.
They announce the name of the reporter asking the question and where they're from, and it got to a point where those of us in the room knew that if the question was coming from an L.A.-based reporter, it would be about Matt Barkley. A Seattle guy asked him to compare Barkley to Keith Price. The San Francisco guy wanted clarification on his position on Andrew Luck. It went on and on and on. Barkley. Luck. Luck. Barkley.
Finally, they announced that the next question was coming from an Arizona-based reporter.
Chip yelled into the microphone, "I love Nick Foles!"
It broke up the room.
This is example A of why all football coaches nowadays tend to be very vanilla. Anything they say about anybody can and will be used against them in the court of public opinion. Chip says Barkley played better than Luck against them, it becomes "Chip says Barkley is better than Luck" in five seconds. I knew what he meant when he said Barkley was the best QB they'd seen... it meant that Barkley had a better performance against the Ducks than Luck did. And no one's going to argue with that, because that's a verifiable fact.
Chip doesn't deal in hypothetical, but I do: Imagine what would have happened had he actually said that "QB X, who is not on my team, is better than QB Y, who is also not on my team." Imagine the follow-up questions come the next day. "Are you saying QB X is better than your QB?" and so on and so on and so on. You think that wouldn't lead at least one edition of SportsCenter or trend on Twitter or get shared on Facebook or whatever that day? Yeah, it would.
Matt Barkley played against Oregon better than Andrew Luck played against Oregon. It's a fact, Chip said it... and it got twisted. It was more like a game of "Operator" than it was an actual press conference. That's what made Chip's exasperated shout of "I love Nick Foles!" so funny.
For one day, Death Valley got soaked by rain. We can only hope there are more rainy days ahead, and that it won't take a Matt Barkley-like performance to them to occur.