FOX Sports Exclusive
Kelly now Philly's elder statesman
If you thought mean ol’ Philadelphia had shed its reputation as a tough sports town, think again.
On Monday morning, just three games into the NHL season, the Philadelphia Flyers fired head coach Peter Laviolette, making Chip Kelly — yes, five-games-into-his-debut-season Chip Kelly — the longest-tenured coach in town.
Laviolette came to the City of Brotherly Love in 2009 and immediately guided the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup appearance in 13 years, a track record many franchises would be thrilled with — St. Louis, Toronto, Montreal and the New York Islanders among them.
But in Philly, where even the briefest of slides isn’t tolerated, a 10th-place finish in a lockout-shortened season and an 0-3 start to the current one is enough to warrant a pink slip.
Just think about some of the coaches who have been canned in the last few months during something of a changing of the guard in Philadelphia.
Charlie Manuel guided the Phillies in back-to-back World Series, winning a title in 2008, and won 102 games as recently as 2011 before being fired in August, left to drown his sorrows in a Wawa sub.
Doug Collins inherited a sad-sack 76ers team that won 27 games in Eddie Jordan’s only season at the helm and immediately took it to the playoffs, coming within a game of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011. But with a major rebuilding process staring him in the face, Collins resigned in April, handing the reins over to Brett Brown instead.
Over at Lincoln Financial Field, Andy Reid was run out of town after just his third sub-.500 season in a 14-year run that included nine playoff appearances and one trip to the Super Bowl. And already after five games, some consider Kelly’s job about as safe as a tourist with a Pat’s cup in line at Geno’s.
And now Laviolette has become the latest victim, just five months after getting a vote of confidence from his bosses in the front office.
"We all underperformed — players, coaches, myself — and we've got to get better," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said at the end of last season. "I'm not unhappy with the coaches. I think they did a good job under the circumstances. But we're sitting here today talking and the playoffs are going to start in two days and we're not in them, so that's not good.
"I think Peter is a strong motivator,” Holmgren added at the time. “I think he's a strong tactician and I expect him to lead our team back into the playoffs next year."
Well, Laviolette never really got that chance. And now he’s been replaced, for the time being anyway, by a guy who, if nothing else, meshes well with Philadelphia’s tough-guy image.
Assistant coach Craig Berube spent 17 years as an NHL enforcer and ranks seventh all-time in penalty minutes over the course of his 1,054 professional games. He’s even been known to fight officials, something that should serve him well as the head man behind the bench.
But Berube knows as well as anyone that not even the toughest tough-guy is safe in Philly, where the beat writers will throw a fit over just about anything and where success truly is considered the only option.
Now, for some links:
• Floyd Mayweather Jr. paid a visit to the Miami Heat.
• The quarterback at Southern Oregon threw eight touchdown passes on Saturday.
• Which school has the most volatile fans in the SEC?
• This guy is a braver man than I:
Sitting by a guy who won an 18-game parlay. Had to win Broncos game to win $54,268.91. Nailed it. pic.twitter.com/rQ6Ie8ikQ8— Ben Hanten (@benhanten) October 7, 2013
• GAH! LOOK OUT:
• Yep, Chris Mullin still has it:
• Danny Ainge says Andrew Wiggins is not worth tanking for.
• A female streaker invaded the Presidents Cup on Sunday.
• Josh Freeman finally has a new team to frustrate.
• Who said Floyd Mayweather can’t be knocked out?:
• Via Total Pro Sports, Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar channel the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff:
• Life’s tough, get a helmet:
• Another coach-player abuse scandal has come to light — this time at Louisville.
• Things seem to be going well these days for former NFL star Larry Johnson.
• Jason Maxiell is going to be sporting some Horace Grant-style eyewear this season in Orlando.
• When you gotta go, you gotta go:
• Oh, look, another guy peeing on the sideline:
• No doubt, it’s going right on his mantel:
Erik Spoelstra receives his portrait from Bahamian artist pic.twitter.com/qtakj3vGRg— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) October 4, 2013
• Derrick Rose dunked and his knee didn’t turn into dust:
• A Kansas recruit died after suffering a stroke on the sideline.
• LeBron James' hairline took a beating over the last year, according to NBA 2K14.
• Even the University of Iowa Police Department thought Iowa State got robbed against Texas:
• Via FTW, Jerry Jones’ box was PUMPED when Peyton Manning finally threw a pick:
• Now, this is a sick note.
• Should baseball be more accepting of the latino style of the game?
• This polar bear has skills:
• Because you can never have too much John Daly in a tutu:
• Ladies, this guy is a real catch:
• How does the best high school soccer program in America do it?
• Clarke MacArthur has a bone to pick with his former coach.
• Via The Big Lead, what you don’t have your own gold chain guy?:
• Via SB Nation, the Tigers are keeping Don Kelly on his toes:
• Tom Brady’s postgame outfit sure is something…:
We get it, Tom Brady. You're investigating a haunted house in the 70s. pic.twitter.com/Pwr5ELWQUw— Jarnold (@dagotron) October 6, 2013
• Alabama’s student section got really pumped for Georgia State on Saturday:
Pretty proud of our student section you guys... pic.twitter.com/gOlXoyADyL— DC (@CambroLiving) October 5, 2013
• George Karl admits to "anger and frustration" with how things ended in Denver.
• Ben Zobrist's wife will sing the national anthem before Game 3 of the ALDS.
• Kevin Durant made these Turks look like, um, turkeys:
• Hey guys, uh, anyone got a lighter? The Olympic torch is out:
• The timing required to do what Josh Gorges did is just unbelievable:
• Tell us how you really feel, David Price:
Dirk Hayhurst...COULDNT hack it...Tom Verducci wasn't even a water boy in high school...but yet they can still bash a player...SAVE IT NERDS— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) October 6, 2013
• Of course, Price did apologize later.