After Widener University was hammered 45-7 by Linfield College of Oregon in a NCAA Division III national quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon in nearby Chester, Pride coach Mike Kelly took a shot at the head coach of the Eagles, who had allowed Linfield to prepare at the NFL team's practice facility.
"Make sure you put in the paper that we thank Chip Kelly and I hope the Seahawks do well tomorrow," Mike Kelly said. "He was helping them out. Maybe somebody in Philadelphia ought to buy him a map so he knows where he lives now. But, go Seahawks."
The comments received national attention and sparked swift condemnation and derision from sports fans on social media.
And after the Seahawks defeated the Eagles 24-14 on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, Chip Kelly, who led Oregon to the 2011 BCS national championship game, brought the chorus to its culmination, delivering a scathing screed on sportsmanship Monday during an interview on the 94WIP Morning Show.
Here's the full transcript:
"Obviously they lost the game, but I think it was a little misguided," Chip Kelly said.
"Joe Smith, who is the head coach at Linfield College, I know him and they've got an outstanding program. We allow people to use our facility all the time. When Navy played Temple, they practiced here this year. I know the coaches at Navy. They're great people.
"When Billy Zwaan and West Chester were in the playoffs a year ago, when we had some bad weather here, they came over and practiced here. St. Joe's Prep, last year, has used our facility. A lot of people have.
"I know that staff. I know them very well. I went down to see Joe Smith. And I don't think people really realize this, is less than a month ago they had one of their players killed in a random act of violence. He just went to the store and got stabbed by some guy in a senseless thing. You can Google "Joe Smith, letter to his team," and it was a real moving thing.
"I think this sport is about leadership and teaching people the lessons that you can learn in life. There's not a classier guy out there than Joe Smith. I was at his practice for five minutes. I'm not allowed to watch practice. I went down to see him and tell him how much I admired him. I was honored for him to come to our facility.
"And any time we can help a team out, we do. It happens all the time in football. That's why I was kind of surprised. The Seahawks used our field on Saturday at the Linc.
"When I was at New Hampshire, Andy Talley, who's one of the classiest guys out here, we always used his facility at Villanova to practice. If we flew in to Philly and were going to go play at Delaware and wanted to go somewhere quick, we'd go up to Villanova and Andy would let us use his field.
"I was. . . I don't understand it. I think that's what this deal is all about. I think when you get involved in this game, there are so many lessons you can learn. One of them is respect. And respect for your opponents is a big deal for us.
"When you can help someone out - you can compete your tail off and play as hard as you can against them, and you want to beat them as hard as you can, but then after the game you're going to shake their hand and respect them for what they did. And if I had the chance to help somebody out again that's going to come into town to practice, and they need somewhere to practice, then they can always use our facility. I think that's one thing I like about this organization. That's what we're all about.
"We're going to compete. The Dallas Cowboys need to practice the day before our game, they can come over and practice the day before our game, and then we're going to go out and compete like sons of guns with them on Sunday. That's what this deal is all about. That's why I love the game."
"That's the way we feel," Kelly said. "I know you [Cataldi] have a hate for them [Dallas], but we don't have a hate for anybody. I think that's what sports are all about. You ask anybody that played this game. When it's over and you know that guy gave you his best shot and you gave your best shot, that's a pretty good feeling. Sometimes you end up on the wrong end of it. Sometimes you end up on the right end of it. But that's what sports and that's what competition, and that's what makes what we get an opportunity to do each week great."
Widener had been 12-0 for the third time in school history and was 7-0 all-time in NCAA playoff games at its Quick Stadium home, prior to Saturday.
Mike Kelly, in his first season at the Chester school, has more than 30 years of coaching experience, including in the NFL. He was a scout and offensive assistant coach for the Eagles from 2001 to '02, served on the Redskins staff from 2003 to '05, and was with the Giants in 2010.
He responded on Twitter to a Sports Illustrated headline Saturday night:
"@SE_Wire @SINow we got beat by a better team today. Nobody is blaming Chip. . .have some fun"
He tweeted again shortly before the Eagles and Seahawks kicked off Sunday:
"I understand Chip Kelly's gesture to help a fellow coach from a former area. I have friends w/eagles & wish the best."
The post also included a photo of a bookcase littered with mementos and accolades.
On the wall is a framed picture of Mike Kelly with Donovan McNabb.
Below it sits a personalized Eagles football, commemorating the team's 2002 NFC East championship.
Below that, the "Make a Difference Award" he received in 2007 from Drexel, where he spent three years teaching sports management, according to his LinkedIn profile, educating students on a host of listed topics, including principles of coaching and leadership in sport and society.
Mike Kelly has since tweeted a response to Chip Kelly's story.