The Philadelphia Eagles helmet has essentially remained unchanged since the 1950s other than the color scheme. The eagle wings have been a staple with the team since 1954 and has since become one of the more iconic logos in both the NFL and in sports, much like their divisional rivals, the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.
They were one of the first teams in league history to add a helmet logo, and next to only the Los Angeles Rams, the Eagles’ logo is the longest surviving helmet logo to date, surviving over sixty seasons in many forms.
Despite the unchanging logo, the Eagles’ helmet has changed in color multiple times, as I implied earlier. Let’s take a deeper look into the iconic, yet ever-changing helmet of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles had two different helmets prior to 1954 with the first coming upon the team’s founding in 1933. For two seasons, the Eagles’ uniforms were hand-me-downs from the old Frankford Yellow Jackets, long believed to be the team’s predecessor.
These helmets were sky blue and yellow, bearing such a pattern on the helmet’s crown while the lower half was simply blue. In 1934, the Eagles used a beige leatherhead with a beige and blue pattern at the crown.
From 1935 to 1940, a white leatherhead was used, except in 1937 when it served a timeshare with a kelly green.
The first memorable helmet came into existence in 1941, which was black on the bottom with silver at the crown and on the upper half of the sides.
In 1942, a modified version was introduced. This helmet consisted of a kelly green and silver shell, with kelly green taking over the sides while the silver took over the helmet’s crown and upper half. This helmet lasted until 1949, the year the Eagles won the NFL Championship.
From 1950 to 1953, the silver portion of the shell was abandoned in favor of kelly green, giving the Eagles a single color. Both helmets can be viewed here at Sportslogos.net. However, another source points that the Eagles started wearing the solid green helmets on a part-time basis starting the year prior in 1949, so it’s possible the team unveiled the look the year before.
As mentioned earlier, the Eagles were the second NFL team to adopt a helmet logo, next to the Los Angeles Rams. In 1954, the Eagle wings first appeared on the helmet. The shell remained kelly green and the wings were silver with no outline.
In 1969, the team abandoned the silver, this time in favor of changing the eagle wings to white, again with no outline.
At the time, the NFL did not prohibit the use of multiple helmets, so the Eagles adopted and wore a second helmet, which consisted of a white shell and kelly green wings.
In 1970, the Eagles dropped the kelly green shell and wore the white helmets exclusively before adding a black outline to the wings in 1973.
In 1974, the Eagles again made a switch, this one lasting for 25 seasons and has since become the Eagles’ primary classic helmet.
Starting that season, the Eagles reverted back to a kelly green shell and silver wings, similar to their 1955-1968 helmets, but this time a white outline accompanied the wings.
Some greater Eagles teams of the age wore this look and it’s something Eagle fans have lobbied the team to return to. The Eagles did answer the call in 2010 and wore this look as an alternate, complete with kelly green jerseys, until the NFL banned the use of multiple-colored helmets, forcing the Eagles to again retire the look.
The Eagles radically redesigned their helmets, but kept the familiar logo intact. The new helmets consisted of midnight green and featured a black facemask. The eagle wings are now two-toned, with the top half being white and the lower half, silver. A black outline accompanies the wings as well, giving the Eagles a combo of their classic look along with what was updated coloring at the time when teams across all professional sports leagues switched to darker shades.
While I loved the look when I was young, I’ve become a purist in many ways and would love to see a return of the kelly green on an exclusive basis. The midnight green with added black was a great move in the 1990s and early 2000s as many teams did this, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Denver Broncos.
It was a trend, but these days the Lions, Rams, 49ers, Bills, and Jaguars have since reverted to simpler and more classic looks while the Broncos switched to wearing their lighter, orange jerseys full-time when at home. The new trend is now the old trend and a return to original colors.
While some teams remain dark, as the years go by, many are answering fans’ demands and reverting back to the days of old. If the Eagles did this, it would be a blessing, as the dark colors have overstayed their welcome.
While the darker look isn’t my ideal look, I do give the Eagles credit for staying with tradition due to the fact they have continued using the Eagle wings for over sixty seasons, with the kind of continuity you don’t see often in the NFL.
My hope is that the Eagles continue to use the winged look while reverting back to the kelly green helmet in the future. However, I wouldn’t mind if they brought the look back once more as an alternate if the NFL decided to give in to the one-helmet rule, much like the NCAA has done.
So either way, I’ll remain 50-50 regarding the Eagles. Part of me loves the old kelly green but the other part of me gives them credit. The Eagles have stuck to the logo that has worked for them since 1954 and for that, I’ll respect them.