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Chip Kelly's NFL debut similar to Saban, Spurrier and Switzer debuts

By John Breech |

Nick Saban's Dolphins totaled 426 yards in his debut. (USATSI)
Nick Saban's Dolphins totaled 426 yards in his debut. (USATSI)

Chip Kelly's NFL debut on Monday was impressive, but it's not the first time a college coach has made the jump to the NFL and dominated a game in his regular season debut.

As a matter of fact, of all the high-profile coaches who've made the jump from college to the NFL over the past 20 years, three coaches had debuts similar to Kelly's. Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier and Barry Switzer all coached teams in their NFL debuts that put up almost the exact same offensive numbers as Kelly's warp speed offense.

Here's a look at how Kelly's debut stacks up against the three other coaches:

2013 Eagles -- Coach Chip Kelly: 77 plays, 443 total yards, 33 points.

Result: 33-27 win over Washington on the road.

2005 Dolphins -- Coach Nick Saban: 69 plays, 426 total yards, 34 points.

Result: 34-10 win over Denver at home. Saban and the Dolphins would lose in Week 2, a 17-7 setback against the Jets.

2002 Redskins -- Coach Steve Spurrier: 73 plays, 442 total yards, 31 points.

Result: 31-23 win over Arizona at home. After winning his debut, Spurrier and the Redskins lost 37-7 in Week 2 to the Eagles.

1994 Cowboys -- Coach Barry Switzer: 73 plays, 442 total yards, 26 points.

Result: 26-9 win over Pittsburgh on the road. Switzer and the 1994 Cowboys would open the season 8-1 and make it all the way to the NFC Championship before losing to the San Francisco 49ers.

Switzer didn't exactly win any coach of the year awards for leading the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and the NFC Championship, his success was expected. Switzer was coaching a Cowboys team in 1994 that was coming off a Super Bowl XXVIII win under Jimmy Johnson the year before.

Switzer went on to win Super Bowl XXX with Dallas, his second year with the team.

What does this all mean? It means Kelly isn't the first former college coach to take the NFL by storm in Week 1. Former Cardinals coach Dennis Green would probably tell us not to 'crown him' yet. But it also doesn't mean Kelly and his hyper-drive offense won't find success in the NFL.

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