The Philadelphia Eagles shift from Kelly Green to Midnight Green is one of the all-time worst decisions in the history of the NFL. It’s up there with the Chargers drafting Ryan Leaf and the Pete Carroll play call that led to the famous Mal***m Bu***r game-winning interception. The Eagles have even switched shades of their own official green a few times since the big logo shift in 1995. No one really knows what our “green” is.
What this color shift led to was a whole bunch of confusion in the fan-base. People still wear throwback Kelly Green, they still sport their Brian Dawkins early midnight green, and they are now catching Wentz fever and there’s this awful light-midnight green trekking the stands in South Philly. The Philadelphia Eagles match the colorful language of its fanbase with a mixed-message on our color identity.
But here’s the beauty of this city. “Go Birds” is your “Thank you for holding the door open for me.” “Fly Eagles Fly” is interchangeable with “Have a nice day.” Everyone, even if they don’t like the sport, gets a kick out of the Birds doing well. It’s an inclusive experience for anyone who wants to don the green and white. This city is propelled by love that disguises itself with anguish and drive.
In Philadelphia, there’s a blue-collar underdog mentality always verging on the point of playing the victim. It’s a town predicated upon things being taken away from us. It’s a town driven by a feeling that we owe no one anything and earn everything ourselves.
When you bleed green, the chances are that your shade green is different than someone else’s. No two Eagles Greens are the same. I hesitate to sound poetic, but there was something lyrical about seeing 67,000+ fans all in different shades of green reveling in the wild and unexpected successes of a team that always seems destined to disappoint. All different greens, yet all green nevertheless. That night was a patchwork of heinous off-tones of a singular green that didn’t even match the confetti blown into the nighttime after the biggest victory this town has seen in ten years.
Philadelphia is green in the literary sense as well. It’s optimism plays into the hands of the haters and when it backfires, it hurts. We’re an openhearted fandom who’s been hurt by the Birds more times than not, but we keep coming back for more; call it an addiction, call it abuse. What we participated in Sunday, January 21st, was a mismatched green gift from a team that holds a city on its shoulders.
The only thing this team has been given is a color-coordination identity crisis. This team earned this trip to the Big Game, and we’re holding out for one more.