Sometimes it takes a leak to get a flood. The Philadelphia Eagles had painstakingly put together a multi-pronged marketing and public relations campaign to launch the return of their classic kelly green throwbacks. They kept teasing the reveal of the uniforms on social media, toying with fans’ emotions and deliberately trolling. Then someone posted an actual photo.
Forced into scramble mode, the Eagles posted a few official images on Saturday evening, then followed with details about the kelly green merchandise hitting store shelves at the Pro Shops starting at 9 a.m. on Monday. Fans went wild.
Michael Spina was first in line — he got to the stadium at 3:15 a.m — and it wasn’t too long before the queue had wrapped around the block.
“It means everything,” Spina said of the kelly green uniform, in a video posted by fellow superfan EROCK. “I love this team and I’m a diehard fan and Go Birds!”
Gates to Pepsi Plaza at Lincoln Financial Field opened at 8 a.m., letting in the flood of early-morning tailgaters. Jason Kelce’s No. 62 jersey in kelly green was the first one to sell out as people attacked the clothing racks.
If you’re living this vicariously, or are just kelly-green-curious, here’s everything you need to know.
Why are fans so hype for this color scheme?
It comes down to timing and nostalgia, specifically for those late 1990s teams featuring Randall Cunningham and Reggie White.
Surprisingly, no Lombardi Trophy was ever secured during that bygone era — but it was the team of record for many of the diehards who file into Lincoln Financial Field today.
Kelly green was the first uniform many of today’s adults saw growing up, including a young Jalen Hurts, who eagerly watched Cunningham redefine the quarterback position.
“We recognize and appreciate the connection Eagles fans have to the kelly green uniform,” team president Don Smolenski said in a statement. “These uniforms not only honor our past and the many legends who have helped shape our franchise along the way, they also represent the passion of our incredible fans and the generations that have been authentically linked by them.”
Here’s more details on past Eagles greats who wore kelly green.
Why’d it take so long to bring it back?
The Eagles had changed their colors to midnight green in 1996, and the NFL strongly enforced its one-helmet policy, out of safety concerns stemming from the thought that a player could only be fitted properly for one.
That meant the team would have been stuck using midnight green helmets, clashing with a kelly green uniform. Not ideal.
But things changed in 2021, when the NFL approved a rule change. The revised policy (filled with details on make, model, size and other things pertaining to player safety) permitted teams to use a second helmet to pair with alternate uniforms.
“It was always important to us that we align the kelly green helmet with the classic throwback uniform of this era,” Owner Jeffery Lurie said.
The Eagles waited an entire calendar year to roll out kelly green because they wanted to do it right, they said. That entailed partnering with Nike on an entire refresh of the throwbacks. In 2022, right after the rule change, the team introduced a sleek black helmet to match their black alternates. Then they set their kelly green marketing plan in motion for 2023.
Lurie credited equipment manager Greg Delimitros for working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring “this celebrated uniform to life.” Delimitros is in his 20th season with the Eagles after being promoted to VP of equipment operations in 2019.
Didn’t the Eagles wear kelly green throwbacks in 2010?
When Jason Kelce mentioned he had never worn the kelly green throwback, some people were left scratching their heads. Didn’t the All-Pro center don it in 2010 when the Eagles kicked off the season in them to honor the 1960 NFL Championship team? No, he didn’t.
For starters, Kelce was drafted in 2011 which was a year after the anniversary celebration; secondly, those 1960-inspired jerseys featured a slightly brighter shade of green, and got matched with white pants instead of gray ones. The helmets are noticeably different, too, with the 1990s version wrapping clean white trim around gray wings.
“I’m excited,” Kelce said this week about the new kelly green. “I’ve never been able to wear ‘em. I always wanted to wear ‘em. I think they are one of the dopest jerseys around.”
What is the new design, exactly?
The first thing that hits your eye is the old-school Eagles logo: a fierce-looking snow white eagle in mid-flight, outlined in black with a yellow beak and talons clutching a football.
Kelly green serves as the primary color of the jersey which is complemented by white numbers with black trim on the front, back, and shoulder pads.
The uniform comes together thanks to cool gray pants patterned with kelly green, white, and black striping down the leg. Players in promotional photos are shown wearing matching white socks and white cleats.
The kelly green helmet features the bird logo prominently, brushed over in metallic paint and gray wings with white trim and a gray facemask.
Which player is ride-or-die kelly green already?
Pro Bowl defensive end Josh Sweat has already started a push to make the throwbacks the new permanent uniform instead of midnight green.
“The kelly green? They need to be like our permanent, you know, we can just wear the black as an alternate, but the kelly green, that needs to be the main one,” Sweat said.
Head coach Nick Sirianni is getting in on it too: he told reporters he already owned a Mike Quick throwback and would continue to wear that one with pride. Also, he said, “my wife will buy my kids jerseys, and I’m sure that they’ll have kelly green ones when they have an opportunity to buy them.”
Remember, Jeffrey Lurie did away with kelly green as the primary color when he bought the team in 1996, potentially trying to change the fortunes of a franchise that had never yet won a Super Bowl.
When will kelly green make its on-field debut?
The Eagles were able to keep that part of the release from leaking early but the info is now out.
The Birds willl wear the new-old kelly green uniforms for two regular-season games at Lincoln Financial Field in 2023: Oct. 22 (Sunday vs. Miami at 8:20 p.m.) and Nov. 26 (Sunday vs. Buffalo at 4:25 p.m.).
Aching to see it in person? The team is running a “kelly green sweepstakes,” where you can win two tickets to Eagles-Dolphins on Oct. 22 plus a signed kelly green Jalen Hurts jersey. Winners will receive a VIP experience, including pregame field passes and the opportunity to hold the Eagles banner while the fight song gets played prior to kickoff.
Where can you lay hands on the merch?
Fans can purchase kelly green merchandise at all three Eagles Pro Shop stores — locations include Lincoln Financial Field, Cherry Hill, and Lancaster — as well as online on the team’s official website.
Fanatics, an online sports retailer run by ex-Sixers owner Michael Rubin, also has kelly green merchandise in stock. As of this writing Jalen Hurts jerseys were on special for $99.99.
Other merch being sold includes t-shirts, hoodies, button-up baseball jerseys, fitted and adjustable hats, tank tops, and replica helmets (mini and full). Jerseys are available in two styles — stitched for $175 and screen printed for $130.
Jason Kelce’s No. 62 sold out fast at brick-and-mortar stores but it was showing up available on the website. They also had a nice selection of alumni players like Brian Dawkins, plus guys who actually wore the throwbacks, like Eric Allen and Reggie White.