Aug 3, 2023 - Sports

The Eagles fan behind throwback jersey leak

Eagles superfan Brandon Winston, left, and his wife Nicola, during a visit to the Linc. Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Winston

An Eagles superfan from West Virginia is responsible for Kelly Green-gate, last weekend's social media leak of the Birds' much-anticipated throwback jerseys.

Why it matters: Brandon Winston scooped everyone, including reporters who feverishly cover the team, and sent the Birds scrambling to release details about the jerseys days earlier than planned.

What happened: Winston, who has an Eagles-inspired man cave in his garage and a Goldendoodle named "Philly," tells Axios he stumbled upon photos of the '90s era-inspired jerseys by chance.

  • He then posted them to social media, tagging and thanking the team, all while not knowing they hadn't been made public.
  • Within hours, the Eagles confirmed they were legitimate. "Y'all better not leak the playbook next," the team said.

So, how did Winston pull off one of the biggest reveals in Eagles' history? Simple, he tells Axios.

Flashback: The 31-year-old woke up Saturday morning after a long overnight shift as a chemical mixer and went on the Eagles app, looking for tickets to the team's home-opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

  • He clicked on a "Go Green" tab, thinking he was being redirected to information about the team's recycling initiative. (Axios tried locating the tab but it's no longer on the app.)

Instead, he struck gold — or rather kelly green.

  • Staring back at him, in all its glory, was a photo of QB Jalen Hurts, along with other Philly players, wearing the retro threads.
  • Winston took screenshots of the photos and sent them to friends. After that, he posted the images to the private Facebook fan page, BirdGang, and splashed them across X, the network formerly known as Twitter.

What they're saying: He was shocked by the reaction: "Where the f--k did you find these at?" one of his friends wrote.

  • "In my head, I'm like there's no way I'm the first person to see these pictures," Winston tells Axios.

While getting ready to go to dinner with his wife, he noticed messages pour in from reporters.

  • That's when it dawned on him: He was the first fan to glimpse the kelly green jerseys ahead of their July 31 release.
  • "The luck of the draw," Winston tells Axios. "I know it's hard to believe. But that's really the story."

Yes, but: Some refused to believe it, and Winston heard conspiracies that the images were doctored or that he hacked the Eagles' website.

  • Winston tells us that he has no "tech-savviness" and the moment was "just meant to be."

Still, he has messaged the organization and players apologizing for the unwitting leak: "I bleed green. I would hate for them to be pissed at me."

The other side: The Eagles didn't respond to Axios requests for comment.

  • But they posted a self-deprecating GIF of Hurts shrugging his shoulders: "Yes, we know the internet is undefeated."

The bottom line: Winston lost a wallet full of cash weeks ago while vacationing with family, so he believes this is the universe's repayment.

  • "That was my good karma," he says. "For the rest of my life, I [will] be telling my grandkids about this. I haven't stopped smilin'."
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