PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles are throwing their old school fans a bone in the 2023 season.
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie announced this week that the Birds will bring back their classic Kelly green jerseys and matching helmets for a few games in 2023. Lurie said the jerseys will be as close as possible in style to the classic 1980s design, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I’m here to announce that beginning in the 2023 season, we’re going to have the Kelly green, classic Eagles jersey and matching helmet and do it the right way,” Lurie told numerous news outlets at the NFL owners meetings in Florida Tuesday. “It’s what our fans have wanted, it’s what we’ve wanted and we’re going to be able to introduce that for that season.”
For years, the only thing preventing the Eagles from bringing back their old, classic jerseys was a NFL policy that did not allow teams to use two different colored helmets, citing safety issues. The league wanted to ensure players were fitted correctly for one helmet to maximize concussion safety, and was hesitant to allow a second helmet.
The league changed that policy in 2021, apparently deciding it had enough resources to ensure that two helmet models could be fitted correctly to each player.
NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Lurie had been hesitant to allow the team to wear Kelly green prior to the NFL's change in policy, because the helmets' color scheme did not match. Using full-helmet decals was an option he was not interested in.
Now that they have the green light from the league, the Eagles will work with Nike to try to match the new jerseys with the classic 1980s look, a process that takes time. Nike will have to add a new color palate to its jersey materials to get the color exactly right.
That's why the Kelly green look won't be ready for the 2022 season, Lurie said.
“It’s going to be as identical as what existed as possible,” he said.
While they're waiting for Nike to find that perfect shade of green, the Eagles will not neglect the alternate jersey look in 2022. The team will switch to a black helmet/black jersey combo this season.
They will also keep pushing the league to eventually allow three different helmets per player, which would allow them to have Kelly green and black, Lurie said.
“What we’re going to do for this season is to have a black helmet because we have a black jersey,” Lurie said. “And our players love wearing black and they love all black.”