Nobody is quite sure what Chip Kelly is doing, and that probably includes Chip Kelly himself. Is Sam Bradford his quarterback, or is it all part of a plan to trade up for his former college quarterback Marcus Mariota? Why did he sign Ryan Mathews even though he had already signed DeMarco Murray? Was he serious about that Tim Tebow shit?
To you and me Chip Kelly’s roster moves are funny and chaotic, a little bit of color for the NFL offseason. But to Philadelphia-area sporting goods retailers, they’re a nightmare. Via Philly.com:
“I don’t know what Chip Kelly is doing,” Frank Sanders, the store manager of Lids Locker Room in the Cherry Hill Mall, was saying yesterday. “So, yeah, I’m a little nervous getting anything in here just yet.”
Sanders’s fear is well founded. Nobody wants to wear the jersey of a player no longer on the team, and if he thinks Chip Kelly is simply acquiring players to flip them, it’s prudent to wait before stocking up.
Things have gotten so bad that he has developed talking points to try and persuade fans out of returning their LeSean McCoy jerseys:
“That’s what I tell people who try to return their jerseys,” Sanders said with a smile. “When he’s done playing, you can wear it the way people wear Reggie White jerseys now. He’ll still be the all-time leader.”
Does it work?
“Not really,” he said.
Over the last few weeks, people have even tried to return jerseys they received for Christmas - and never got to wear to a game. “I have to tell them, ‘Sorry,’ “ Sanders said. “It’s way past the last return date.”
Some quick internet searches bear out the point. The only large sporting goods retailer that I can find that has an Eagles Sam Bradford jersey for sale online is Dick’s, which is crazy considering that he is the presumed starting quarterback for one of the NFL’s more successful teams, and that online retailers have fewer stock constraints than brick-and-mortar ones. You’re telling me that Sports Authority or Modell’s don’t even have a couple in stock in a warehouse somewhere on Ohio?
The problems for retailers aren’t limited to the Sam Bradford conundrum. All the previous top selling Eagles have left this offseason. Nick Foles, gone. LeSean McCoy, gone. Jeremy Maclin, gone. At the aforementioned Lids Locker Room, the Eagles display didn’t contain a single jersey of a current Eagle.
If you can say one thing for the Eagles, though, it’s at least they’re not the Phillies:
Sports Authority also has a big discount on Ryan Howard Phillies jerseys. “He’s off the team too now, right?” asked [Sports Authority employee Tina] Lopez.
Um, not exactly.
Image via Modell’s