Savvy Roseman Wins in the End
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - My guess is Aesop never envisioned the NFL when he came up with the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare but Howie Roseman sure learned a thing or two from the Greek storyteller.
Portrayed by some as Milton from "Office Space," banned to the basement of the NovaCare Complex with his red stapler after "losing" a power struggle to Chip Kelly back in January, Roseman really just receded into the shadows after setting a trap by uncoiling the rope to let Kelly hang himself.
Don't get me wrong, stepping back was hardly Roseman's original plan and the former Eagles GM was likely kicking himself for hiring such an autocrat like Kelly, who craved the power to dismiss any dissenting opinion in his perceived fiefdom.
But, faced with the idea of moving forward without his dream job forever, Roseman watched with glee as Kelly disassembled a good roster, ostensibly to go from good to great, the toughest leap of all in the NFL.
We now know Kelly's personnel acumen is limited and his belief that a football guy like himself could traverse the waters better than a money guy like Roseman was specious.
Kelly's vision put the organization in reverse and the former flavor of the month was going to face a difficult decision after this season, hand personnel power back to someone of Jeffrey Lurie's choosing and concentrate on coaching or start looking for another job.
Kelly made his decision Tuesday and it hinged on his personal animosity toward Roseman, at least if you believe what the now former Eagles head coach told Jay Glazer of FOX.
Chip claimed he a wants to stay in the NFL when taking with Glazer but does not want personnel power at his next stop.
If that's true, at the end of the day, Kelly versus Roseman was nothing more than a pissing match in the same vein as Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco.
Despite being labeled the loser in the original coup by Kelly, Roseman never really stopped fighting and played the tortoise in this real-life 2015 fable, using the guile and trickery he learned in previous battles with executives like Joe Banner, Tom Heckert, Jason Licht, Ryan Grigson, Louis Riddick, and Kelly’s friend Tom Gamble.
And hindsight now reveals when Lurie decided to serve two masters by giving Roseman a raise to stay in the organization, that was an indication that the war was still raging behind the scenes.
As we sit here on Wednesday morning, it's fair to say Roseman can unravel the "Mission Accomplished" banner and add the pelts of Kelly and his hand-picked yes man, Ed Marynowitz, to his impressive collection.
"Howie got him," one long-time NFL executive told NJ.com. "He won. It took him some time, but he got to the owner, and he won. That's just amazing."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen