February 21, 2019
For years, Philadelphia Eagles fans have clamored for a return to the team's signature Kelly green uniforms, even if it's an alternate look, à la the much-hyped "black out" games.
The Eagles officially switched to midnight green in 1996, two years after owner Jeffrey Lurie purchased the team.
Those jerseys have come to signify the Eagles most successful era as a franchise, so it's hard to make an argument that they're not a driver of team pride. (The creamsicle orange-era Buccaneers, whose demise in 1997 led to a Super Bowl five years later, are a different story).
On Wednesday, former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski tweeted a picture of himself in Kelly green. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery couldn't help but throw his support behind a return to the retro classics.
The issue here is that Jeffery is asking the wrong entity to make the decision. The Eagles could, in theory, return exclusively to Kelly green jerseys and ditch the midnight green altogether, by following the league's regular protocol for a uniform change. That option seems unlikely. The darker green is a stamp of Jeffrey Lurie's ownership.
While other teams wear alternate uniforms with some regularity, the key difference in their cases is that they still use the same helmets. Lurie addressed this issue at last year's NFL Owners Meetings after lobbying the league to reconsider its one helmet rule:
I don't know what entity of the league (is disallowing a second helmet), but in the end it's probably the commissioner. They have to decide if they want to go with a plan to be a two-helmet plan for the NFL, and that's not what we do now. It's a one-helmet league, so there's ramifications in that, I suppose. But they know with the Eagles, it's important to us. We really want to be able to have Kelly green jerseys at times, and to make it look really right, you should have matching helmets.
It appears the NFL's primary concern with two helmets is maintaining player safety, which they believe is best ensured by one custom-fitted helmet. It's not clear why two custom-fitted helmets would be considered infeasible.
While it's doubtful Alshon Jeffery is going to tilt this possibility in one direction or another, having a prominent player vocally support a reform that would give teams flexibility is a positive step.
At the end of the day, unlike the horrendous "Thursday Night Football" Color Rush uniforms that flamed out last year, this is something fans would actually enjoy seeing and appreciate.