6:52 PM AKST, January 17, 2013
O.J. Simpson. …Tiger Woods. …Jerry Sandusky. … Lance Armstrong. …and now, sadly, maybe even Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
The list of people who turn out to be not exactly who we thought they were seems to grow daily in the sports world.
So, it's better to proceed with caution when making judgments about people, especially when seeing and hearing about them for the first time.
But there's one chance to make a good first impression, and new Eagles coach Chip Kelly did just that on Thursday at his introductory press conference; an event so big that it interrupted all regular programming on Philadelphia's ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates and, of course, Comcast SportsNet.
I don't know what the ratings were, but it was certainly quadruple what the 76ers are drawing.
Years ago, press conferences weren't covered as they are now, so how forthright a person was in answering questions only mattered to the guys toting tape recorders and notepads in the room.
Now, however, how you present yourself in front of those fancy team logos and sponsor-coordinated backdrops is as important in shaping public perception as mapping out Xs and Os, because they're going out to living rooms everywhere.
Get smug in front of the cameras and people won't like you. People here will accept stuttering and stammering (Charlie Manuel) much more readily than smugness. Just be real and honest.
And what we saw on Thursday indicates that Kelly's press conferences will be more entertaining and interesting than what Andy "Gotta Do a Better Job" Reid delivered.
Kelly came off clever, likable, direct … like the kind of guy who'd go along with you if you invited him to Pat's for a cheesesteak or some wings at Chickie's and Pete's.
You never felt that comfortable with Reid, who came from the Packers, where he helped Green Bay and Brett Favre make a couple of Super Bowl appearances.
Reid kept his distance from the media, and by extension, the fans. He often seemed as though he was talking down to everyone in the room. It happens all the time with NFL guys.
Kelly has never been in the NFL, not even as a player. He's a guy who, at least for the moment, relates more to the easygoing folks at Durham, N.H., where he played and coached at the University of New Hampshire.
I've been to UNH and it's a nice place, but nothing like the NFL. In fact, UNH's stadium is not nearly as large or fancy as some of the high school facilities we have around here.
And you can tell that Kelly still has a lot of UNH in him. He spent a lot of time on the road recruiting players, including many in eastern Pennsylvania, and you sense that he's more comfortable hanging out in coffee shops than in posh NFL executive suites.
During the press conference, Morning Call Eagles beat reporter Nick Fierro asked Kelly about his training camp plans.
That's when Kelly laughed and said: "We're already in training camp? I'm getting through Thursday."
Fierro wanted to know if Kelly planned to bring his team to Lehigh every summer.
He didn't answer the question, but my guess is that Kelly will not only bring the Eagles back to Lehigh, but will relish the opportunity to get back to his roots every July.
You can see him doing something Reid never did — TV and radio commercials. He seemed to apply for a role at the upcoming "Wing Bowl" by giving that Super Bowl of gluttony an immediate mention.
Assessing Kelly's performance on Thursday, Comcast SportsNet's Ray Didinger said: "He did really well. He came off as likable and really human, which a lot of football coaches don't. He showed you a little bit of a sense of humor. You got a sense that he already knows a little bit about Philadelphia Eagles lore."
Later in an interview with SportsNet's Derrick Gunn, Kelly said he spent a lot of time with the high school coaches in this area and threw out names of scholastic stars that probably not even most Philly media knew.
Now, it all may change when Kelly makes a few decisions that backfire in a close loss to the Giants and he hears that he's a bum for the next week on WIP.
But for one day, Kelly was king in a town starved for a crown.
To the way Jeffrey Lurie kept the Philadelphia media guessing. While all the focus was on Gus Bradley, the Eagles owner went backdoor play on everybody and gave them a Wednesday surprise with Kelly, who was thought to have been out of the picture for more than a week.
The way Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey seemed as if it got a promotional tour before it ever aired on Oprah's network. It seemed as if the whole thing was designed to give that struggling network a boost with an over-hyped event that couldn't possibly live up to the hype.
Quote of the week
The NHL returns Saturday on NBC and one of the featured games is the resumption of the Penguins-Flyers rivalry. "[There were] 56 goals, but for those of you who are carnivores, 19 majors and misconducts [in last year's playoffs]," said play-by-play man Mike Emrick. "The energy from the fans is heartening and exciting, and all the more reason that 'friendly' little game on Saturday afternoon will not be so friendly."
KEITH'S CAN'T MISS … Will it be heartbreak again for the Harbaughs? The brothers are back on conference championship Sunday as the Super Bowl matchup is set with games in Atlanta and Foxboro.