The worst NFC Championship loss.
Oregon was getting ready for its Fiesta Bowl matchup against Kansas State. During practice, the Ducks ran a screen, but execution was far from perfect. Long and his buddy, tight end Colt Lyerla, went to block the same defender.
After the play, they started arguing over who screwed up. That’s when Chip Kelly stepped in.
“Chip ran over and said, ‘Both of you shut-up. Get over here,’” Long recalls. “And he had this smirk on his face. I knew something good was coming. He always has this little paper in his back pocket. He pulls it out and draws a square.”
A pizza box, Kelly explained. Then he drew a circle. That was the pie. Kelly divided the pie into slices and wrote Long and Lyerla’s initials on them.
“He says, ‘What happens if I take your pizza, Kyle? Are you going to cry about it? Or are you going to take the other piece of pizza?’” Long said. “And that’s how he explained who to block on this one play.”
The message was simple. Things are not always going to go perfectly on the field. But don’t hesitate. Rely on your instincts and play fast.