Nebraska Football: Brian Kelly demonstrates it could always be worse

LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly reacts (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly reacts (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

As Nebraska football fans, we can all agree that Brian Kelly has had quite the successful career. We can also all agree that Husker coaches over the last 20 years have not been all that successful in Lincoln. And finally, we should all be able to agree that whoever the next Cornhusker hire is, there can always be worse, there can always be someone like Brian Kelly.

Yes, I’m well aware that as far as overall record, Nebraska football fans would be lucky to get someone who has won as many as the former Notre Dame head coach has won. And while winning is the most important thing in college football, Bo Pelini has already demonstrated that winning doesn’t mean you should ignore some weird personality quirks that makes a guy an unlikeable fool. And Brian Kelly is absolutely an unlikeable fool. He demonstrated that again this week when he made comments about SEC officiating and how he thinks the officials are out to get him because he’s “the guy from the North.”

Even if you ignore the fact that Brian Kelly’s negligence led to the death of a student when he was at Notre Dame (and that’s not something you should ignore) the LSU coach has demonstrated time and time he’s just kind of a jerk.

Yes, I’m aware there is a certain segment of the fan base that has no problem with a coach being a jerk. Some even like it. I’d argue that the one thing that always happens when your head coach is a jerk – unless you’re Nick Saban and are constantly winning championships – is that, eventually the team and then the fans grow tired of the act.

Exhibit A of Brian Kelly being an unlikeable, humorless tool was when he botched a rather funny line from famed Tampa Bay Bucs coach John McKay. Back in the day, McKay was asked what he thought about his team’s execution, meaning how they carried out the gameplan and such. McKay, well known for being an affable guy with a sense of humor, joked, “I’m in favor of it.” Here’s Kelly’s rather lame attempt at emulating the quote:

It should be pointed out that Nebraska football fans know a thing or two about a coach saying silly things when he’s either trying to show bravado or be funny (it’s still not clear what Scott Frost was aiming at with his puking comments) but Brian Kelly doesn’t say stupid things. He keeps proving that he’s a guy whose persona is eventually going to get him fired. It feels as though he knows it too. There’s a reason he moved on from Notre Dame to LSU.

The things that make Kelly an likeable tool keep popping up and are popping up more frequently down in the bayou. There was the time he chided people about being late and received a sick burn from a reporter in response. There was the time he faked a Southern accent in what was his first real meeting with LSU fans.

And there was his latest nonsense, about how the SEC refs are out to get him. Those nonsenical comments were packaged with factually incorrect statements about replay. “Ten out of 10 times, the call stands on the field. Unless it’s an LSU call, right?” Kelly said on his weekly radio show Thursday. “Or is it just me? I just don’t think they like the guy from up north.”

It’s easy for fans and coaches to get angry at the refs during a big game. There’s little doubt they make plenty of mistakes. But the idea that Kelly is somehow getting singled out because he’s from “up north” is victimhood of the highest order. Never mind he’s just 100 percent wrong about replay. As annoying as it can be, as long as it can take, the call is not confirmed “10 times out of 10.”

Yes, Brian Kelly has had quite a bit of success over his coaching career. He’s likely taking LSU to a bowl game this season. But sooner or later, his act is going to get real old. That’s why whoever Nebraska football hires next, it could always be worse. It could be Brian Kelly.