Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s plan to rush the offense may have hit a snag.
Kelly was known for running each play as quickly as possible, eliminating stoppages in play, during his tenure at Oregon. He was expected to bring that same philosophy to the NFL game, taxing defenses. But according to the Wall Street Journal, he could have an issue with this kind of game: the NFL referees.
Citing league officials, the story points to the NFL’s long-standing pace for the referees. They "aren't going to change just to accommodate someone's offense," said Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating who is now an analyst for Fox Sports.
"We have to make sure teams understand that they don't control the tempo, our officials do," added NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino. "We're going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren't going to rush [unless] it's in the two-minute drill."
According to the report, Blandino has talked to NFL coaches during the offseason to make the point clear. It’s up to the ref to signal when it’s time for the play to begin.
Kelly declined to comment to the Journal, as did an unnamed Eagles spokesman.
Reportedly the up-tempo style of offense was a “major point of discussion by the NFL's competition committee in recent months.” The report states that Pereira said he saw league executives “taking the next step, drilling the message into the heads of its assembled referees: No matter what, we're going to run at the same pace” during a summer clinic.
"Coach Kelly will not be playing as fast in Philadelphia as he did at Oregon," said Gerald Austin, a longtime NFL referee who now instructs officials and is an analyst for ESPN, according to the report.