PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Chip Kelly and the San Francisco 49ers are 1-3. That’s no surprise. Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals are also 1-3. That is a big surprise.
The two 1-3 NFC West squads will square off this week on Thursday Night Football on CBS 3.
Arians and Kelly have been linked together since the began their NFL head coaching careers during the same year, in 2013. Kelly was surprisingly hired by the Eagles after reports circulated that he was going to stay at the University of Oregon.
Arians, who attended William Penn High School in York, Pennsylvania, coached at Temple from 1983-88. He seemed interested in the Eagles’ coaching position back in 2013 saying, “I never got an answer other than ‘thanks but no thanks.'”
Instead, he landed in Arizona where he went 34-13 in his first three seasons, leading the Cardinals to the NFC Championship game last year.
As for Kelly, after two straight 10-6 seasons to start his pro head coaching career, he took over personnel control. And when the Eagles regressed in 2015, Kelly was fired.
In 2013, Arians took a swipe at Kelly, calling his system a “great college offense.” However, before the 2016 campaign, Arian changed his tune saying,
“I think Chip is going to do a phenomenal job in San Francisco. I think they’re the sleeper.”
Kelly won his first meeting against Arians, a 24-21 game in Philadelphia. However, the Arians took the next two contests — a 24-20 win in Arizona in 2014 and a 40-17 walloping of the Eagles on the road last season.
Some Eagles players criticized Kelly’s offensive system, which has slowed down of late. Through four games with the 49ers, Kelly’s offense led by Blaine Gabbert is ranked 30th in the NFL averaging just 292.8 yards per game.
The Cardinals are four-point favorites against the 49ers on Thursday in San Francisco. Arians will be without his starting quarterback Carson Palmer, who has been ruled out with a concussion.