Chip Kelly's first season as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles went about as successfully as anyone could have imagined and on Thursday he as announced as the Maxwell Football Club's Bert Bell Coach of The Year Award recipient.
Kelly's Eagles took home the team's first NFC East division championship since 2010 and hosted a playoff game in the first-year head coach's maiden NFL voyage. He is the first Eagles head coach to win the division in his first season.
Over the previous two seasons prior to Kelly taking the reigns from Andy Reid, after a 14-year run with the team, the Eagles combined record was 12-20, making 2013 an even more impressive turnaround.
Prior to being named head coach of the Eagles, Kelly was one of college football's most successful coaches. Kelly put his stamp on a new generation of offensive schemes as head coach of the University of Oregon program. In four seasons as head coach of the Ducks, Kelly compiled a 46-7 (.868) overall record and transformed Oregon into one of the nation's premier college football destinations.
Many questioned whether or not his offense would translate to the NFL level and Kelly quickly erased those doubts.
This season while using a high octane attack that was predicated on a power running game and up-tempo pace, the Eagles totaled 4,110 passing yards and 2,566 rushing yards. The Eagles became the second team in NFL history to post 4000+ passing yards and 2400+ rushing yards in one season, joining the 1998 San Francisco 49ers (4256 passing, 2544 rushing).
Beyond the numbers, Kelly dramatically changed the culture of the Eagles locker room by utilizing sports science such as sleep monitoring, protein infused shakes after practice and during meetings along with heart monitors worn in practice as well as creating a family like atmosphere that quickly took root with the players.
"I think coach Kelly is first and foremost, he knows what he wants and what he wants to accomplish," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said after the season. "He is a great motivator and I feel like he is a really, really great leader and he's a great football coach."
The formal presentation of the 55th Bert Bell Award and the 25th Greasy Neale Award will take place at the Maxwell Football Club National Awards Gala which will be held on Friday March 14, 2014 at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.
Matt Lombardo is the Editor-In-Chief of Eagledelphia and also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.