The conversations began long, long ago, as far back as 2012. Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie explored the idea of bringing back Kelly Green to be worn as an alternate uniform. The process to get it done, to lead to this very moment, has been thorough, required a lot of patience, and, in the end, perseverance to see it all through.
More than 10 years in the making ...
"The hold up for all of these years was that teams could have only one helmet for the season," said Greg Delimitros, vice president of equipment operations for the Eagles. "It was a league rule and the league didn't want to change out the helmet for safety reasons. Wearing the Kelly Green uniform with the current helmet just didn't feel right. Collectively, as an organization, we all felt that if we were going to do it, it had to be authentic and true to our team's history. Luckily, with the recent change around the league's alternate helmet rule, we were able to pick the conversation back up and bring the uniform's reimagined concept to life. This is something that Jeffrey has been adamant about, talking to the league about it, and I know he's very happy about what is happening now."
What's happening now is that the Eagles have unveiled the Kelly Green uniforms from the early 1990s which, the team says, represents "a throwback to an era of Philadelphia Eagles football that resonates with a generation of fans" when the likes of Randall Cunningham and Reggie White dominated on the field.
The Eagles will wear the Kelly Green jerseys and helmets along with grey pants and white-striped socks for two home games (Week 7 against Miami and Week 12 against Buffalo) in the 2023 regular season. Nike developed the custom-made color for the product – the Kelly Green is not in the Pantone color of Nike – and the Eagles will wear the new fabric, which is more breathable and made from all recycled materials.
Once the NFL gave teams the go-ahead to wear two different helmets starting in the 2022 season, the race for Kelly Green was on. The Eagles wore black helmets with black jerseys in the 2022 campaign as the two-year process to produce the Kelly Green helmets moved along.
The Eagles officially revealed their Kelly Green throwback uniforms. The Eagles will wear the alternate uniforms in Week 7 vs. Miami and Week 12 vs. Buffalo.
Now there is no delay. Lurie is excited about what's ahead, understanding how long the fans have wanted Kelly Green to return.
"We are thrilled to bring back the Kelly Green uniform and helmet this season, and are equally excited to celebrate our team's history with Eagles fans everywhere," said Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles Chairman & CEO. "This is something we have wanted to do for a long time, and from the feedback we have gotten from our fans, we knew they felt the same way. It was always important to us that we align the Kelly Green helmet with the classic throwback uniform of this era. The league's recent rule change around alternate helmets allows us to do that now.
"In particular, I want to thank our head equipment manager, Greg Delimitros, who worked tirelessly throughout the process to bring this celebrated uniform to life. The anticipation has been building for quite some time, so it is exciting to now be in a position to officially unveil them to our fans and the larger NFL community."
The team took the responsibility of finding the right shade of Kelly Green, the one that truly represents the 1990s era of Eagles football. The team looked at the many versions of green jerseys out there – the Boston Celtics in the NBA, the Dallas Stars in the NHL, Oregon and the University of Marshall in college sports, for a handful of examples – and studied how Kelly Green would look on fabric, on helmets, on gloves, for a 1 PM game, for a game under the lights, how it would appear on television.
"There was so much to consider, and every bit of the effort was worth it," said Delimitros.
"The fans are going to love it," he added. "I've been here 20 years and I love it. It's going to be a big hit. I know the players love it. Everyone is on board. It's something we all wanted. It's exciting because all the hard work we put into this project over the past few years is now coming to fruition."
While the Eagles have made minor alterations to their uniforms over the years, the 2023 season marks the first time in nearly three decades that the team will return to the early '90s-era Kelly Green uniform. The Eagles most recently donned a similar style of Kelly Green in Week 1 of the 2010 season to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the team's 1960 NFL Championship.
"We recognize and appreciate the connection Eagles fans have to the Kelly Green uniform," said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President. "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. We are excited to celebrate the return of Kelly Green, and look forward to creating unique touchpoints around the uniform for our fans to take part in all season long."
The Kelly Green uniforms are BACK! Check out the details of the throwback alternates that the Eagles will sport this season.