No. 6: Chip Kelly’s One-and-Done Year in 2016
Head coach Chip Kelly’s tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles started off promising enough. But after his battle with the front office and assumption of roster control, Kelly’s tenure in Philly spiraled out of control and eventually landed him in Santa Clara in 2016 after the 49ers parted ways with Jim Tomsula after just one season.
Interestingly enough, no other NFL franchise even offered Kelly an interview after what happened with the Eagles.
Granted, Kelly doesn’t deserve all the blame on what happened with a Niners squad that finished tying a franchise-worst 2-14 record that year. Trent Baalke’s roster failures leading up to, and including 2016 made life nearly impossible for Kelly, too.
That said, Kelly never adjusted his uptempo offense, falling out of favor with many of his players and the media, too. Meanwhile, the direct result of 3-and-out offenses and a lack of talent, San Francisco’s defense ended up being historically bad that year, allowing a whopping 6,502 total yards.
If there was any positive from the season, Jed York and Co. realized the collective mistakes that had been brewing over the past two-plus seasons. York cut bait and parted ways with Kelly after just the one season, then finally fired Baalke who had survived the front-office drama with Jim Harbaugh.
That all opened up the door for the 49ers to bring aboard head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch — a tandem which helped restore the franchise at the end of the decade.
Still, just how bad was it all? ESPN put together a ranking of all North American sports franchises that year, and the 49ers ranked dead last at No. 122.