Jeffrey Lurie

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie donates $1 million for research to fight COVID-19

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie donates $1 million for research to fight COVID-19

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is donating $1 million to Penn Medicine for research to fight COVID-19. 

The donation from Lurie will establish the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund, giving money to experts for immunology research geared toward battling the coronavirus during this international pandemic. 

The fund was created with the goal to create a research program to test front-line health care workers for potential immunity as well as for research to battle the pandemic. 

We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that is affecting all of us in so many ways,” Lurie said in a statement. “Every passing day brings new stories of heartbreaking tragedy, inspirational courage, and hopeful innovation. We can and will get through this, but only if we work together, care for each other, and focus our attention and resources towards sustainable strategies. There are so many individuals and organizations who are making daily sacrifices, and we are incredibly thankful for their dedication and bravery. We must continue to support these efforts in every way that we can, while also seeking a solution that will help us move forward

“We have reached a critical point in our fight against COVID-19 in which testing for antibodies is absolutely essential both to protect our front-line workers in the short term and to develop treatments and vaccines that will save lives and help defeat the virus. With that in mind, I am proud to offer my support to Penn Medicine’s research efforts by establishing the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund. This fund will aid Penn’s multi-disciplinary approach in immunology, merging research in diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine development. Researchers from those three areas will work hand-in-hand and rely upon one another to create an immediate and lasting impact both locally and worldwide.

According to Penn Medicine, Lurie’s donation will allow Penn to address the following critical needs: Developing rapid diagnostic testing, finding drugs that work against the virus and developing vaccines. 

Lurie, 68, is just the latest member in the Philadelphia sports scene to give money to a charitable cause amid the spread of COVID-19. 

This was a well-thought-out donation from Lurie after researching the best course of action to help solve short-term and long-term problems. This will hopefully make an immediate impact through immunity testing for health care workers but also a lasting impact through treatment and vaccine development. 

“In a time of national crisis, this is the kind of extraordinary partnership that can open doors and discover new pathways to address the profound challenges before us,” University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann said in a statement. “I am personally grateful to an exceptional civic leader and a great friend, Jeffrey Lurie, for giving us the tools to fight back against this pandemic in a way that may not only benefit our city and country but also the world.”

Lurie, in the release, asks for others to follow his lead in donating to Penn Medicine.

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What if Chip Kelly never got personnel power with the Eagles?

What if Chip Kelly never got personnel power with the Eagles?

Jeff Lurie stood at the lectern in the NovaCare auditorium in late December of 2015 and made an admission. 

His bold hire of Chip Kelly was a flop. 

Not just that, but Lurie finally explained his reasoning for elevating Kelly from his role as a head coach to a head coach with personnel power in Year 3. Basically, Lurie wanted to go all in, knowing that if it didn’t work, he’d make a change. 

“There was really no choice in terms of maximizing Chip without him having the levers, so to speak, of making those decisions,” Lurie said after firing Kelly in 2015. 

“That’s where it was at. Either you were all in or you should find a new coach in terms of the trust. The choice was let’s see if that’s going to work. In terms of the results, part of that’s the reason we’re here today.”

As we look back at the last decade of Eagles football — and it was a wild one — there isn’t a single decision that has shaped the franchise more than Lurie’s decision to hand the keys to Kelly. 

So as 2019 winds down, I was asked to come up with one hypothetical “what if?” question pertaining to the Eagles. To me, the top one is a no-brainer. 

What if Chip Kelly was never given personnel control?

Kelly doesn’t flip the roster 

Kelly got into power and immediately went full fantasy football mode. Think about all the major roster decisions he made that offseason: 

-He traded away LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso 

-He traded away Nick Foles for Sam Bradford 

-He signed DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Walter Thurmond, Mark Sanchez, Miles Austin

-He released Evan Mathis 

-He drafted Nelson Agholor, Eric Rowe and Jordan Hicks to start the 2015 draft 

None of that happens aside from maybe a few of the draft picks. 

Roseman doesn’t spend his year away 

If Kelly never took over personnel control, Howie Roseman would have never spent his “year away” as he’s called it since. But that year gave Roseman some much needed perspective. When he took back power, he was aggressive in undoing some of Kelly's mistakes but also in completely reshaping the roster. 

Think about all of the major roster moves Roseman made that offseason: 

-He traded away Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray and released Riley Cooper 

-He extended core players like Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson and Malcolm Jenkins 

-He signed free agents Brandon Brooks, Rodney McLeod and Nigel Bradham

The Eagles don’t get Carson Wentz 

But Roseman’s master stroke of that 2016 offseason was to move from 13 to 8 to 2 in the draft to take the Wentz from North Dakota State. This was his most aggressive move of that offseason and it was a concerted effort to find the next franchise quarterback. Roseman learned that the team would never get over the hump without that top quarterback. 

If Kelly was never given personnel power, he probably would not have been fired. And Wentz would have been drafted elsewhere. 

Think about this: If the Eagles didn’t trade up to draft Wentz, the Browns didn’t seem to want him at 2. The Chargers, at 3, still had Philip Rivers. At No. 4, the Cowboys took Ezekiel Elliott but that offseason, dating back to the Senior Bowl, the Cowboys really liked Wentz. He wowed them at his combine interview. The Cowboys ended up taking Dak Prescott in the fourth round, but maybe they would have taken Wentz. Could you imagine that? Wentz in a Cowboys uniform? Heck, maybe the Eagles would have drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round. 

Eagles don’t get Doug Pederson

The most obvious thing that would have happened if Kelly didn’t get personnel power is that he probably would have remained the head coach for longer. It has always seemed like Chip Kelly the de facto GM got Chip Kelly the coach fired. And if Kelly doesn’t get fired, the Eagles don’t hire Pederson … at least not in 2016. 

Of all the moves in the wake of Kelly’s firing, the decision to hire Pederson was probably the most important. He brought some life back to the building and completely changed the culture. 

*****

Hiring Kelly and giving him personnel power two years later was a disaster. But it was a disaster that led to a lot of good things. Maybe this is a little too “butterfly effect” for you, but the decision to give Kelly the keys back in 2015 flipped the first domino in a chain that took the Eagles to incredible heights. 

To put it simply: The Eagles would not have won the Super Bowl if it never happened. 

So one of the worst decisions in Eagles history led to one of the most euphoric moments in the history of Philadelphia. Go figure. 

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How long will Jeffrey Lurie give Doug Pederson to turn Eagles around?

How long will Jeffrey Lurie give Doug Pederson to turn Eagles around?

With the Eagles sputtering along at 5-7 and coming off one of the ugliest losses in a generation, there’s been plenty of speculation about Doug Pederson’s future and just how long owner Jeffrey Lurie will be patient if Pederson is unable to get this team back on track.

Pederson won a Super Bowl two years ago, but the Eagles are 15-15 since, although they did win a road wild-card game last year in Chicago.

Pederson isn’t getting fired after this season, and I think everybody understands that he still has plenty of equity left just 22 months after leading the Eagles to their first and only Lombardi Trophy.

But the Eagles certainly aren’t trending in the right direction. They’ve lost three straight games and the 37-31 loss Sunday in Miami to a 2-9 Dolphins team turned the heat up on Pederson.

His play-calling magic seems to have disappeared, his franchise quarterback has struggled at times, some of his assistant coaches often seem overmatched and way too many young players are failing to develop.

After being picked by many experts and analysts to contend for a Super Bowl, the Eagles need to go 3-1 to avoid just their fifth losing season in the last 20 years. 

So how long should we expect Lurie to stick with Pederson if things don’t get better?

History — Eagles history and NFL history — can help us sort this out.

Lurie has fired four head coaches — Rich Kotite, Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid and Chip Kelly. He let go of each one at the exact same time — after the first time their teams failed to reach the playoffs two straight years.

Does that mean if the Eagles don’t win the NFC East this year and the Eagles don’t rebound and reach the playoffs next year, Pederson is gone? 

Probably not.

It’s hard to imagine Lurie looking at Pederson the same way he looked at Rhodes, Kotite or Kelly. That Super Bowl trophy could very well earn Pederson more than just two down years.

Plus, only one coach in NFL history has ever won a Super Bowl and been fired before he coached at least four more seasons with that team.

Let’s take a look at the curious history of Super Bowl coaches getting fired:

There have been 53 Super Bowls and 32 Super Bowl-winning head coaches.

Out of those 32, six are still with the team they won a Super Bowl with. Of the remaining 26, 17 either voluntarily resigned or retired.

That leaves only nine who have been fired, and that includes Tom Coughlin, who initially resigned, although it was later reported he had been forced out.

Let’s take a look at the nine and how long they lasted between their Super Bowl triumph and their dismissal:

Tom Landry, Cowboys: Won Super Bowls after the 1971 and 1977 seasons and was fired after the 1988 season (after a loss to the Eagles). Coached 10 more years. Four losing seasons.

Mike Shanahan, Broncos: Won Super Bowls after the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Coached nine more years. Four losing seasons.

Mike McCarthy, Packers: Won the Super Bowl in 2010. Coached eight more years. Two losing seasons.

Mike Ditka, Bears: Won Super Bowl in 1985. Coached seven more years. Five losing seasons. 

Jon Gruden, Buccaneers: Won Super Bowl in 2002. Coached six more years. Four losing seasons.

Brian Billick, Ravens: Won Super Bowl in 2000. Coached five more years. Three losing seasons.

Hank Stram, Chiefs: Won the 1969 Super Bowl and was fired after the 1974 season. Coached five more years. Three losing seasons.

Tom Coughlin, Giants: Won Super Bowls after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Coached four more years. Three losing seasons. 

Don McCafferty, Colts: Won the 1970 Super Bowl and was fired after the 1972 season. Coached two more years. Two losing seasons.

So seven of the nine Super Bowl-winning coaches who have been fired coached at least five more years after their Super Bowl before getting the axe.

The two others?

Coughlin didn’t get fired until the Giants had gone 28-36 without reaching the playoffs in his last four seasons.

McCafferty is an anomaly. He won the Super Bowl in 1970 with the Colts and went 10-4 the next year before getting fired just five games into the 1972 seasons with the Colts 1-4. He coached the Lions to a 6-7-1 record in 1973, was fired again and never coached again.

Which means he’s not only the only head coach in history to win a Super Bowl and get fired within the next three years, he actually got fired twice within the next three years.

If Lurie fires Pederson before the end of the 2021 season, it would equal the second-fastest a Super Bowl-winning coach had been fired in nearly half a century.

It’s just hard to imagine Lurie giving up that quickly on the only coach to deliver a Super Bowl championship to Philadelphia.

And who knows? Maybe the Eagles will actually start winning again.

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