PALM BEACH, Fla. — Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie on Tuesday delivered news that fans have been waiting for years: the kelly green jerseys are returning.
Beginning in the 2023 season, the Eagles will reintroduce their classic kelly green jerseys with matching helmets. Lurie said they wanted these jerseys to be as close to the 1980s style that so many fans remember.
“I’m here to announce that starting in the 2023 season, we’re going to have the classic Eagles kelly green jersey and helmet to match and do it the right way,” Lurie said at NFL owners’ meetings. “That’s what our fans wanted, that’s what we wanted and we’re going to be able to introduce that for this season.”
The NFL announced a new policy in June 2021 that would allow teams to use two different helmets starting in the 2022 season. This had been the barrier to the Eagles using their kelly green jerseys as backups.
Although there are no rules prohibiting the use of kelly green jerseys, Lurie had repeatedly said that he did not want to bring the jerseys back without a matching helmet. Using full-face helmet decals was not an option he was interested in.
And kelly green jerseys paired with midnight green helmets wouldn’t have looked right.
The Eagles are working with Nike to try and match a kelly green with the 1980s color and it’s taking time. That’s why Lurie said these jerseys won’t be ready until 2023. Nike currently doesn’t have the color in its palette with their new material. “It’s going to be as identical as possible to what was there,” he said.
In the meantime, the Eagles will use the alternate helmet rule to use black helmets. They will also continue to push the league to eventually allow three different helmets per player, which would allow them to have kelly green and black.
“What we’re going to do for this season is have a black helmet because we have a black jersey,” Lurie said. “And our players love to wear black and they love everything in black.”
The original reason for the one helmet rule was a safety issue. The league wanted players to be properly equipped for a helmet and potentially doubling down on that could have made it more difficult. But this rule was also obsolete. The NFL has seemingly endless resources, attracting billions of dollars. They can surely afford to safely add helmets to the mix.
The Eagles even proposed this rule change once before, but later withdrew it based on a suggestion from the competition committee. But the rule finally changed last year.
“They know with the Eagles it’s important to us,” Lurie said in 2018. “We really want to be able to have kelly green shirts at times and to make it look really good you have to have matching helmets.”
Now it finally happens.