Since the mid-1990s, the Philadelphia Eagles have worn midnight green uniforms, a more modern take on the color scheme and style of the kelly green jerseys from the team's past.
But now, it appears there is momentum to bring the kelly greens back. On Wednesday morning, Eagles president Don Smolenski talked about the possibility of a kelly green rebirth on the Angelo Cataldi & The Morning Team show, via CBS Philly:
We have talked about it and there are some rules with the NFL that provides some restrictions that we’re trying to work through, but that’s going to take some time. It’s there, and it’s something that we do talk about, but until some things change at the NFL level it’s going to provide restrictions for us. It is being talked about it, yes.
You can hear the interview here.
It's a tricky situation, however, which Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News expounded upon:
Turns out, the Eagles might like for us to see it, but the league has put in a rule that says you have to wear the same helmet, regardless of what you do with the rest of the uniform. So right now, if the Eagles dressed in kelly green, they'd have to do so with midnight green helmets, which would look silly.
The rule has to do with concussion protection, making sure the fit is right and helmets are thoroughly vetted in practice and so on before they're worn in games. Of course, it would be possible to do this with any color helmet, but right now, that's the rule. So it would have to be changed for kelly green to happen, Eagles sources say.
The Eagles last wore the kelly green throwbacks in 2010.
Now that's a sharp uniform.
One of the most beloved eras in Philadelphia Eagles history came during the Buddy Ryan years in the late 1980s, when the team had one of the most fearsome defenses in NFL history, led by Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons and Eric Allen.
Those Eagles wore a kelly green jersey that was bright and unique. It had been the basic design the team had for much of its history. But Ryan was fired in 1991, White left in 1993 and the Eagles missed the playoffs in 1993 and 1994 under head coach Rich Kotite.
In 1994, Jeffrey Lurie took over the team, and by 1996 he decided the team needed to upgrade its identity, switching to the midnight green uniforms the Eagles still wear today. He also added the black alternate uniform in later years.
However, many would argue that the new designs simply don't have the character of those old kelly green throwbacks. They are sleek and more modern in one sense, yes, but they also feel more corporate and safe.
The kelly green is vibrant, a different tone from the darker ones many NFL teams have turned toward. The jerseys would stand out, like the powder blue ones the San Diego Chargers wear or the bright orange of the Denver Broncos.
Philadelphia is a city that has a love affair with its history, so bringing back these old uniforms—with a few moderns twists, of course—would play well. The Eagles might have to re-brand their entire uniform design, of course, but you can bet the new digs would sell faster than cheesesteaks at Pat's on a Friday night.