clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why do the Eagles’ green jerseys look so different than they did a few years ago?

A look at the evolution of the team’s midnight green color

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: NFL Experience Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s talk green.

Anyone who’s ever ordered a Philadelphia Eagles jersey or attended a Philadelphia Eagles game should know full well that Philadelphia Eagles green is a hard green to pin down.

The team’s classic Kelly green look, used in some variation all the way from 1935 through 1995, is almost as unmistakable as the bumblebee-yellow and blue threads left over from the Frankford Yellow Jackets in 1933 (and resurrected as a throwback in 2007).

Randall Cunningham
Kelly green jerseys circa 1990

But midnight green, the color that’s defined the Eagles since 1996, when Jeffrey Lurie campaigned for the team “to look less like the Jets,” has been markedly more divisive, not only as a matter of fan preference but as a look of consistency — or lack thereof.

The difference between Kelly green and midnight green has never been the problem. Kelly, with its “intense pure green” reminiscent of Irish landscapes, is vastly brighter (as illustriously evidenced in the Eagles’ 2010 Opening Day throwbacks), whereas the midnight green is darker with hints of cyan (a greenish-blue spectrum).

Green Bay Packers v Philadelphia Eagles
Kelly green throwbacks, 2010.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles
Midnight green, 2008.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The “problem” has been in pinpointing which shade of midnight green the Eagles actually use. (And when we say “problem,” we merely mean the issue of fans finding — or identifying — jerseys that match the Eagles’ true colors.)

Because one look at used Eagles jerseys for sale will unearth more shades of Eagles green than you can keep track of. Some of the inconsistencies can be attributed to off-brand products from knockoff retailers (those ones sending you Nick Foles jerseys from China), but there’s also a case to be made that the Eagles’ own, true midnight green has simply changed — even ever so slightly — over the years.

That was never more apparent than when the team officially embraced Nike’s uniforms in 2014. Reebok stopped outfitting teams in 2012, but the Eagles didn’t fully transition into Nike’s Elite 51 product until 2014, when they infamously had to open the year without their home jerseys, which required “extra time” to produce because of their custom color.

And when those midnight green unis finally debuted, they looked different. In came the Flywire collars, which were promptly ditched three years later, and in came a slightly different shade of green — or at least what appeared to be one considering the way it reflected off the tighter, shinier Elite 51 jerseys.

Getty Images

But wait. It gets better. The disparity has become even clearer in the Doug Pederson era, particularly the team’s Super Bowl championship season of 2017. Try convincing someone that the home jersey of 2008, displayed on DeSean Jackson above, is even in the same ballpark of what Foles wore during the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII victory this February.

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a temptation to call that downright teal. The green in 2017, we can conclude, was even conspicuously similar to the inner-number colors on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ jerseys.

But why? How did midnight green evolve so much? And should Eagles fans care?

To answer the latter, it’s arguable that Philly’s 2017 rendition of midnight green was the closest to matching the color the Eagles use for everything else — their website, their other apparel, etc. It’s also far more glossy, more vibrant, than the almost-forest green of the Andy Reid years. And yet it also takes some getting used to, especially with its added tightness (notice how much more form-fitting the 2017 Foles jersey is compared to, say, the 2008 Jackson jersey).

As for the why, some amateur opinions have been floated regarding the material used for Nike’s new jerseys — opinions that suggest the Eagles’ midnight green color code remains the same, and that it merely looks different because of how it reflects on Nike’s material.

When reached for comment on the apparent evolution of greens, a Nike spokesman offered this explanation:

The green changed from Sport Teal to Deep Teal for the ’17 season when they switched into the Vapor Untouchable (from the Elite 51). The sideline apparel was always Deep Teal and was the closest to an “Eagles” green. We took the opportunity of the uniform changeover to make all the greens consistent.

There you have it.

No word yet on whether all the now-“consistent” greens will stay consistent in the seasons to come.

And best wishes in attempting to explain just what color green you Eagles fans bleed.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bleeding Green Nation Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Philadelphia Eagles news from Bleeding Green Nation