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Why is kelly green such a big deal?

Philadelphia Eagles v Cleveland Browns
Andre Waters, repping my childhood
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The pain and disappointment of the Jets debacle has begun to subside (ever so slightly) and I’m ready to look toward Sunday night and the Dolphins. The Eagles will be wearing the kelly green uniforms and helmets they wore in the ‘80s and ‘90s for the first time since 1995*. There has been so much build up, anticipation and excitement (and merch sales) from the team about this move. People seem pretty jazzed about kelly green.

*What about the Michael Vick kelly green game in 2010? That was the 1960 version.

When I went to the Rams game in L.A. a couple weeks ago it seemed like the majority of fans were wearing kelly green. I was starting to wonder if the Eagles and the NFL had just cooked up a way to get fans to buy new merch. But then I got in on it. I’ve been planning my wardrobe for my big meeting with Jerry Jones and I found the same satin Starter jacket I wore as a kid. I ordered it and when it arrived I tried it on in front of the mirror. I started to giggle and couldn’t stop smiling. This is what nostalgia feels like! It’s a real feeling. Maybe the Eagles got my money, but the nostalgia feels great. For fans who fell in love with the team in the kelly green era, seeing the Eagles play in those uniforms on Sunday will be really cool. The team has really been promoting this, but have they taken it a little too far?

Maybe just a little.

Every true fan loves the Eagles but has to fall in love with a new version of the team each year. It can be upsetting if the team isn’t the same as it was when you guys said goodbye for the summer. At times it can seem like you don’t even recognize them anymore.

Who is this guy?
Generated by A.I.

But somehow you fall in love with the new version of them, every year. There’s a moment or a game that turns it for you. If you think back, there was a moment or a season that made you fall in love with your first Eagles squad. You went from young observer or casual fan to true fan. That squad, that coach, the colors and the memories from that season are extra special to you.

I was born in Philly but my parents split when I was five and my mom married a young Army Ranger from Texas who happened to be a Cowboys fan. We followed him to Army bases during the school year and I went back to Philly for summers. My stepfather wanted me to be a Cowboys fan. He even got me a shirt to wear.

1982. My flesh is burning.

I gave him the shirt back and said the Eagles were my team (because I had an Eagles pennant my babysitter in Philadelphia had given to me when I shipped off for Army life). I knew nothing about the players or coaches or any games they played but they were my team. For the next few years, he would taunt and ridicule me when the Cowboys beat the Eagles. I still knew very little about the team and never watched the games but he gave it to me like I was a 30 year old in the stadium parking lot. One of the first NFL games I remember really being invested in was when the ‘85 Bears demolished the Cowboys 44-0. My stepfather was devastated. Our relationship had steadily deteriorated from the moment I met him so I really enjoyed seeing him broken like that. When the Eagles hired the Bears’ defensive genius Buddy Ryan I saw a path where the Eagles, my team, could annihilate Dallas one day. That’s when I saved up my allowance and bought a knock off Mike Quick jersey and got psyched for the 1986 Philadelphia Eagles season.

Stuffed some dirty laundry in my shoulders and posed as Mike Quick, Eagles wide receiver and emergency kicker.

In the summer of ‘86 I convinced my dad (who is a Giants fan) to take me out to West Chester for Buddy’s first camp. Back then you could get right up next to the field and interact with the players after practice. I didn’t see Mike Quick and the only other player I knew was Ron Jaworski and he peaced out without stopping for the fans. A few guys who didn’t make the squad gave me autographs. And one starter stopped and signed for me. I didn’t know who he was until we looked him up later. It was strong safety Andre Waters, the original #20. I treated that autograph like it was the holy grail. I watched every Eagles game that aired in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky that year (this was pre-Sunday Ticket so it was about 7 games). My dad would mail me the day after articles for every game from the Philadelphia Inquirer and I would study them like sacred texts. I was obsessed with this team. Every time Andre Waters made a play on TV I would yell out, “I have his autograph!” When announcers would bad mouth him or call him “Dirty Waters” I would fume. Back then there were no Andre Waters jerseys for fans. If you wanted one you had to spend a fortune on a personalized jersey. So I saved up every cent I made that year (I was a hustler) and I bought a #20 jersey with my name on the back. I wore it to training camp in 1987 and waited for my hero to see me after practice. I shouted out, “Andre! Look at my jersey!” He did a double take then his face lit up and he said, “My man! My man!” He put his muscular arm around my neck and started parading me around to his teammates and showing off my jersey. That is a once in a lifetime memory. I get goosebumps thinking about it. I wish I had a picture of it, but the closest thing I have is me hugging my big sister while wearing my jersey.

I wore the hell outta that jersey

The Eagles beat the Cowboys NINE TIMES IN A ROW from 1986-1991*. Two of them were shutouts including 27-0 on Thanksgiving in 1989. Do you know what a boost that gave me as I battled for some confidence and pride in my own home? It was huge. Those players, that coach, and the kelly green uniforms mean so much to me. When Jeffrey Lurie bought the team he made the switch to midnight green to reflect the regime change. It took me a long time to get used to the new look. They’ve made some tweaks through the years and I’m cool with the uniforms now, but did we really have to change? If the Eagles do something to make us fall in love with this squad on Sunday night then the uniforms may have to stay.

*I don’t count the game our scabs lost


Why are you so excited about kelly green?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    It looks cool
    (286 votes)
  • 47%
    I’m feeling the nostalgia
    (425 votes)
  • 8%
    Nice to have a change of pace.
    (80 votes)
  • 11%
    It just clothes, I don’t care.
    (106 votes)
897 votes total Vote Now

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