Philadelphia Eagles SHAKEDOWN

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Sep 19, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman holds a football before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles SHAKEDOWN: Howie Takes Over

On Wednesday, it was General Manager Howie Roseman who stepped up to the podium to make a simple announcement:

"“We thank Tom (Gamble) for his service over the past two seasons and wish him and his family the best as they move forward. I appreciate all Tom has done for our scouting department and our team.” – General Manager Howie Roseman"

An announcement. A simple parting of ways. But as the Philadelphia fan-base has come to learn over and over again, nothing is simple when it happens in Philadelphia. This announcement was no exception. It was not just a VP who was dismissed. Tom Gamble had become a trusted associate, a colleague who shared the same football passion as did Kelly. Describing Gamble as a “heck of a football guy” is about as high of an endorsement as Chip Kelly can give you. And yet, in the same discussion, when describing Roseman, Chip Kelly surgically limited that endorsement to the contract ability of Roseman to keep players in team friendly terms.

I appreciate all Tom has done for our scouting department and our team.” – General Manager Howie Roseman

But to say that the friction was solely between the GM and  head coach would be myopic.  As with any division, media reports during and after the Gamble announcement paint a picture of “Howie’s camp” and “Kelly’s camp”.    There were those who knew the reality of the Eagles inner workings.   The only survivor of the travesty of the 2012 4-12 season was general manager Howie Roseman, and those who followed suit.  That type of survival breeds loyalty, if only from the perspective of job-security.

But in the signing of head coach Chip Kelly, a different camp arrived.  Kelly, despite all reports of innovation and extravagance, was a logical and methodical man.  He did things because they were the right thing to do.  If you could justify a good reason, he listened.  And into the maelstrom of “follow the leader” plummeted this type of thinking.  A larger factor in shaping events to come was the historian aspect of Kelly.  He knew football’s past and present.   He is a football guy who talks football and loves football.  And so, his association with Tom Gamble was more than just a golf partner nor a fourth for Friday night poker games.  They shared a passion, a common language.

And so, when the announcement was made by Howie Roseman that “heckuva football guys” were no longer welcome in the Philadelphia Eagles organization, that struck a nerve.   Winning is more than a final score.  Winning is a culture, a mood.   Winning on a Chip Kelly coached team is the belief that your team is better than the team you will face, and the game is simply acting out that belief.