Liberty Bellz: History of the Philadelphia Eagles Jersey

The Philadelphia Eagles jersey history dates back to the team’s founding in 1933, when they succeeded the Frankford Yellow Jackets, who had existed until 1931. The Eagles initial colors mimicked that of the Yellow Jackets, which were powder blue and yellow. These are also the colors of Philadelphia’s flag.

Since the Eagles have a long, winding uniform history, I’ll link a watercolor of their earliest uniforms here, and begin when the team switched to their more familiar colors of green, silver, and white, with black coming to the color scheme later on.

 

1940s-1950s

In 1941, the Eagles switched things up, dropping what would become familiar green and white, which the team held since 1935 while opting for a simpler scheme of black and white.

In 1942, when combining with the Pittsburgh Steelers, nicknamed ‘the Steagles,’ for a season due to player shortages as World War II was in full force, they changed colors again, this time to green and white, resembling the looks of what was to come in the future.

All of these jerseys were unique since they contained a single sleeve stripe running vertically up the sides and across the shoulders. This trend started when the team adopted the old Frankford Yellow Jackets’ uniforms and again in 1941 (they dropped the look between 1935-1940), which lasted until 1948 when the Eagles adopted two horizontal sleeve stripes.

In 1949, another change was made, discarding the sleeve stripes. The green jerseys consisted only of white numbering while the whites took on green numbering.

In 1959, the green, horizontal sleeve stripes returned to both jerseys.

 

==> Click Here for the Eagles Helmet History <==

 

1960s-1980s

Eagles 1980s Throwback
Home version of the Eagles’ jersey introduced in 1974.

The Eagles again remove the stripes, this time opting for player numbers at the sleeves, dubbed TV numbers, which became more prevalent as the popularity of TV rose.

In 1967, the Eagles made a unique move, adding both two vertical shoulder stripes and two horizontal sleeve stripes, nestling the TV number between the two.

In 1972, the Eagles again dropped the striping pattern and opted for a plain look, while introducing black to the color scheme for the first time as outlines outside the numbers.

The jersey saw a radical redesign come 1974, featuring a return of the striping, this time with three bands of sleeve stripes as the TV numbers migrated to the shoulders. Within the three bands of striping. For the road jerseys, the team placed five green stripes along with two silver stripes. Silver outlines also accompanied the green numbers.

On the green home jerseys, the green striping was replaced with white while the white numbers received silver outlines.

In 1985, the team again did away with striping, instead adding the team’s flying eagle logo to both the home and road jerseys.

 

==> Click Here for the Eagles Team Profile <==

 

1990s and Beyond

Eagles Current Home

The most radical redesign came in 1996, when the Eagles switched to a darker shade of green, dubbed midnight green. White became more prevalent and also, black was re-introduced.

These uniforms consisted of a new numbering font, with midnight green home jerseys, a black collar, and a single black stripe at the sleeve’s base. Midnight green numbers with black outlines accompanied the road whites, while white numbers with black outlines joined the home look. Also a new logo was introduced, featuring a cartoonish eagle head, which the team added to the sleeve’s base on the home jersey while TV numbers graced the shoulders, as became common practice starting in the late 1990s. In 1997, the eagle logo was also added to the whites.

A small change occurred in 2003, when the team added more black dropshadow to both the home and road jersey numbers.

The Eagles, like many in the early 2000s, introduced an alternate black jersey, which resembles the home look except for green dropshadow outlined with silver trim on the numbering. This jersey also served as the team’s Color Rush look.

 

Shop Philadelphia Eagles gear at FansEdge.com

 

My Take

Eagles Alternate Black Jersey

Could be worse. Could be way worse, but when Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Laurie was asked about the 1996 uniform overhaul, he stated ‘our fans want us to look less like the Jets.’

Well, the Jets changed their look in 1998, which featured a white helmet and while the team has reverted back to green, called Gotham green, it once more resembles the Eagles. So, if the Eagles want to look less like the Jets, why not switch back to the old kelly green look?

Kelly green and silver donned the Eagles’ uniforms for ages until the radical redesign in 1996. Maybe it’s time to return to normalcy?

Source: The Gridiron Uniform Database

Gallery

1985-1995

Eagles 1985-1995 Throwback

 

Eagles 1985-1995 road throwback

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6 comments

  1. Wow, so much history with this team! I had no idea that they combined with the Steelers for a season. It’s interesting to know that even in times of war and hardship, football still goes on. Sports can be a great distraction to keep morale high. 

    The midnight green color is my favorite by far, though the yellow and blue was neat just because it was so different! 

    1. Hi, Haleigh, it’s indeed true. Shortages ran rampant during WWII, so it wasn’t uncommon to see teams merge for a season and yes FDR actually wanted football to continue on in one way, shape, or form for this very reason; to take Americans’ minds off the war. I actually like midnight green, myself, but I think the kelly green is more historic in the Eagles’ case. 

  2. If I am not mistaken they started out with yellow and blue jersey which was very unique and unusual for 1930s. Right after in 1941, they switched it to white black and green as we see today. I actually like the original first jersey and helmet, it is lively and original look. Jeff was right at one point around 1950s-1960s they uniform looks exactly like the Jets (they have been horrible lately) and now the shade of green between the 2 teams and the design are almost identical again. I think they should just go back to the original color and pattern the midnight green is not working. Simple is always better. 

    1. Yes, they started off with hand-me-down uniforms from the Frankford Yellow Jackets. I’m with you when it comes to the original color scheme, which the team wore once as a throwback in 2007. It reflects the City of Philadelphia’s colors, too, so it would’ve been cool to have seen the scheme at least survive into the modern age. 

      I think the same, too, regarding the shades of green. The Gotham green of the Jets is very close to midnight green, so a switch back to kelly green makes a lot of sense here. 

  3. Hi Todd, a good look back at the changing Eagles jersey over the years. Although I am not familiar with the sport as I am from the UK and as you probably know we are more into our own version of football. But I do like seeing the different jersys teams wear in any sport. I also particularly liked the green and white jersey as it is the colour of my own team in Scotland, Hibernian.

    Thanks for this insight of the philadelphia eagles jersey.

    Frank

    1. Hi, Frank, I’ve noticed that football teams (soccer for my US readers) in the UK have some really contrasting uniforms whether they’re home or on the road. I like that, as it distinguishes soccer from other sports and it’s cool to see the wide array of colors offered. By the way, you can’t go wrong with green and white!

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