Doug Pederson? How did we get here?
New Years Eve, December 31st, 2014, that’s how. That day set off a shi*t storm of events that dramatically altered the Eagles future.
Chip Kelly had just come off his second 10 win season. All seemed well, aside from missing the playoffs. Then, news broke.
Eagles announce they've parted ways with Tom Gamble. There had been rumblings someone would be out. Lurie firmly behind Roseman though.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 31, 2014
Shortly after being hired, Chip Kelly brought Tom Gamble onto the Eagles front office team. That was his boy.
The story allegedly goes like this. Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman weren’t best of friends. Chip thought of Howie as a salary cap guy. Howie was working hard to lose the cap guy perception. Chip and Tom were a united force in an alleged front office power struggle. Howie won the power struggle and fired Gamble. Mark Eckel has a good summary of the events here.
According to Les Bowen, Gamble was escorted from the building.
My understanding is that Tom Gamble was escorted from the building Tuesday evening. Still have not been able to talk to Tom…
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) January 1, 2015
That’s the same Les Bowen who correctly broke the news of the Doug Pederson hiring.
Doug Pederson will be the #Eagles coach, league source confirms.
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) January 14, 2016
Kelly went on to describe Gamble as “a heck of a football guy,” clearly drawing a line between Gamble and Roseman.
Two days later, Gamble was fired. A source close to the Eagles organization said the move was a clear sign that Lurie had sided with Roseman in another internal squabble over power. The source thought there could be more fallout from the decision, including the possibility that it would lead to Kelly’s eventual departure from the Eagles.
That action drastically changed the Eagles and the Chip Kelly era. Less than a week later, Chip Kelly was given control over all football-related decisions and Roseman stripped of his GM title.
The firing of Gamble forced Chip’s hand to make a move for control since he wasn’t going to rely solely on someone he publicly characterized as a good “cap guy.” He just won twenty games in two years. There was no way Lurie could let him walk. Chip won control.
Giving Chip control was disastrous. He isn’t an NFL personnel guy and it showed with the Eagles 7-9 2015 season.
One can argue that Lurie giving Chip personnel control was the mistake, but he had no choice if Chip gave him an ultimatum of control or leaving. This issue wouldn’t have existed had Roseman not fired Gamble. What drove Roseman to fire Gamble? Insecurity? Personality clash? Poor scouting? No one outside of the Novacare Complex and Gamble/Kelly know the truth.
Kelly and Gamble are now reunited with the San Francisco 49ers. The one action that set off a chain reaction of dysfunction and brought Doug Pederson to the Eagles is without a doubt the firing of Tom Gamble on December 31, 2014.