Eagles fans who have hoped for years to see the return of the team’s classic kelly green uniforms just got the news they wanted to hear.
The NFL is getting rid of a rule put in place in 2013 that prevented teams from using multiple helmets during the season. That paves the way for the Eagles to make the kelly green jersey and helmet the team’s alternate uniform.
The rule was enacted as a safety measure related to concussions, so players would practice and play in the same helmet.
In a memo obtained by The Inquirer, the NFL will allow teams to use “one alternate color helmet” beginning in the 2022 season. The league said the new helmet must be worn with a team’s authorized optional uniform, and if paired with a classic jersey the look must be “historically accurate.” Additionally, the helmets must be made available to players during training camp, and must be worn during practice at least one week before the game.
An Eagles spokesperson said the team was “excited about the possibilities and is beginning to look into its options, as the policy was just released. Any new developments will be announced at the appropriate time.”
But sources with the team said the NFL deadline for uniform selection for the 2022 season has already passed, and the Eagles submitted their black alternate jersey. Any new helmet the team could wear would have to work with those uniforms. So barring a change from the league, fans won’t get to see the Birds in kelly green until 2023 at the soonest.
In 2017, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was pushing for the NFL to change its rule specifically to allow the team to wear kelly green again.
“I would love to see it,” Lurie said. “I love the midnight green; I think it’s great. But I also want the kelly green. I’d love for us to have both, and some games have one and some games have the other. I think that would be more fun.”
Lurie and his ex-wife, Christina, changed the team’s primary color to midnight green in 1996, two years after he purchased the Birds.
“When we bought the team, Jeffrey and I were like, ‘We can’t live with the kelly green color,’ " she said in 2010.
The last time the Eagles wore the kelly green uniforms in a game was during the 2010 season opener against the Green Bay Packers, part of a celebration of players from the 1960 NFL championship team.
While there have been many modifications to the Eagles uniform over the years, the kelly green look dates back to 1935, when the Eagles moved away from the yellow and blue jerseys that made a brief return in 2007 to celebrate the franchise’s 75th anniversary. Based on the fan reaction to those throwbacks, don’t expect the Eagles to be in a hurry to bring them back.
The move also paves the way for other teams to bring back older uniforms. That includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their creamsicle uniform, the New England Patriots’ original minuteman helmet, and the Buffalo Bills’ red helmet and logo from their Super Bowl run in the 1990s.
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Not surprisingly, Eagles fans expressed excitement about the potential return of the kelly green throwback uniform on social media.