The Philadelphia Eagles had been pushing for the NFL to change its eight-year long rule of restricting teams to one helmet per season, and this past Tuesday, they finally got their wish – starting in 2022, teams will be permitted to add a second helmet option to their rotation, unlocking opportunities for certain teams to bring back fan favorite throwbacks.
For the Eagles, that most likely means the inevitable return of ‘Kelly Green’, the jerseys that were worn between 1985-1995, before resurfacing as throwback jerseys in the 2010 home opener against the Green Bay Packers.
Though these jerseys have sentimental and nostalgic feelings attached to them, they should not be held in higher regard than the current midnight green uniforms for a multitude of reasons.
In the span of the 11 years that the ‘Kelly Green’ jerseys were worn, the Eagles maintained an overall record of 98-83-1, including the playoffs. In those same 11 years, the Eagles clinched five playoff berths, earned one NFC East division title, and won just two playoff games while never making it past the divisional round. For reference, in the first 11 years of the introduction of midnight green uniforms, the Eagles achieved a record of 107-83-1 with seven playoff berths, five division titles, four trips to the NFC championship, and a Super Bowl appearance. Dawning the midnight green uniforms, the Eagles also captured their only Super Bowl trophy in franchise history, once again signaling superiority over the ‘Kelly Green’ uniforms.
What’s more is how much the Eagles underachieved during the ‘Kelly Green’ era. Between 1985-1995, legends such as Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham, Mike Quick, Clyde Simmons, Reggie White, Seth Joyner, Cris Carter, Keith Jackson, Eric Allen, and Jerome Brown all took the field wearing ‘Kelly Green’ uniforms at some point while the Eagles had two playoff wins to show for it. In fact, in their five trips to the postseason in the ‘Kelly Green’ era, the Eagles were humiliated by rivals, Dallas Cowboys, twice, once in 1993 by a score of 10-34, and once again in 1996, by a score of 30-11. The team also blew golden opportunities to win Super Bowls with many key players in their primes, such as in 1988, when fog hindered the Eagles’ chances of upsetting the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in the divisional round.
Luck was also not to be found during the ‘Kelly Green’ era, as 1991 presented one of the biggest ‘what-if’ questions in Eagles history with the Eagles managing to reach the 10-6 mark on the season despite Randall Cunningham suffering a season-ending injury in week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. The 10-6 record was eventually not good enough to reach the postseason that year.
Overall, though ‘Kelly Green’ uniforms do present the nostalgic factor, they simply do not represent the same good fortune that the current midnight green uniforms do.
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