Just minutes after his Eagles team was dealt a heartbreaking, final-second 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Kelly didn't want to reflect on the many accomplishments of the 2013 season. Not yet, anyway.
"I thought we were going to be a good team when I met these guys for the first time because I know how hard they worked and how hard they wanted to invest in this and then I watched it first-hand them come to work every day and really invest in the whole process," Kelly said. "It's just disappointing right now. But I don't think us winning the division or going to the playoffs was a surprise to us. I just think everybody is really disappointed that we're not moving forward."
Kelly was the first rookie head coach in franchise history to deliver a division title. His message to his team was two-fold: he was proud of them, and he thanked them for their effort.
"I just told them I was proud of them, and for us being together for such a short amount of time, how they acted and how they came to work every single day, as a staff how much we appreciated them, how they made this from a work environment standpoint, a really special feeling every single day when you go to the NovaCare Complex and just thanked them for that," he said.
While the game ended on a 32-yard field goal off the foot of Shayne Graham, there wasn't one particular reason for the end result. Kelly explained how it was truly a team loss.
"I think we all contributed to it. You can go through every play and look at it and say, 'if we did this or did that there may have been just a block we missed here or a cut we missed there,' and it's the same thing," Kelly said.
The Eagles did not do the things Saturday night that made them a 10-win team in 2013. The Eagles were the league's top rushing team during the regular season, but it was the Saints who won the battle on the ground by 105 yards. Philadelphia forced Saints quarterback Drew Brees to throw a pair of interceptions, but on the first - a pick by cornerback
"Part of the turnover thing as I've talked about before is if our defense does create them we need to do something with them offensively, and we didn't capitalize offensively the way we need to when our defense creates turnovers like that," Kelly said.
On Monday, the Eagles will clean out their lockers and reality will hit that the 2013 season is over. The work for 2014 will immediately begin and, if nothing else, the Eagles now have a taste of what they can accomplish with Kelly as their head coach.