One of the great things about sports is that there is always something to talk about. Whether it’s reacting to the team’s performance in a game, trade rumors, injuries, upcoming draft candidates or even which Hollywood starlet was recently seen dating an athlete, fans will talk about it. Recently, the Cleveland market added another radio station for fans to talk about all things sports and a topic earlier this week blew me away. And it blew me so far away I nearly caused a Twitter riot and then needed two days to get my head together so that I could write about it.
The topic was simply this: It wouldn’t be a bad idea to change the Browns uniforms and helmet. I heard Andy Baskin and Jeff Phelps from 92.3 The Fan (@CLETalkingHeads) bring up this topic. They seemed to think that it was no big deal and that adding a “B” or Brownie the Elf to the helmets would be a great idea.
My question for them is simple: Are you kidding me? How could you even consider putting a logo on the Browns helmet? It’s blasphemy! (Whew, glad I got that out of my system…) Plus, I’m pretty sure everyone who called in set them straight on the topic!
The Cleveland Browns have one of the most recognizable and iconic helmets in all of sports. They have the only helmet with no logo, just Cleveland orange with the white and brown stripes down the center. Classic. There can be no question that the helmet design sets them apart from other teams. This has been their helmet design since 1946. Why would you even consider changing it? To sell more merchandise? Trust me – you will cause more fan uproar by changing the helmet than you could deal with!
The uniforms are another story. I’m not a fan of the “all white” home unis, so changing them up a bit isn’t a big deal. Throw on some brown pants, or orange pants, and mix it up. My favorite combo is the brown jersey with the orange pants, but again it’s not that important. We can even discuss putting Brownie the Elf on the jersey sleeve. Any way you look at it, mixing and matching team colors isn’t a problem. But there is really no reason for a big redesign. Who really cares what the players are wearing? How does this affect whether or not they win games?
I actually heard one person make the argument that if the Browns uniforms were more “fierce” we would intimidate their opponents. Really? I’d rather let our tackling, blocking, smash-mouth style of football intimidate opponents. Any team that goes onto the field, looks at the opponent’s uniforms, and gets scared, shouldn’t be playing football. Oy.
A lot has been made in recent years about the Oregon Ducks and their relationship with Nike. Some years, their uniforms have been really sweet. Maryland has worn some crazy stuff the past couple of weeks. These unis have kept them as a topic of conversation for sports fans and pundits, but really hasn’t helped their on-field play. Do the uniforms make the player? Or is this just crazy talk to sell more merchandise?
Now, I’m not a fashionista and I usually could care less about these things, but there is just something special, even magical about the brown and orange. I happen to have a tattoo of the Browns helmet on my lower back. I thought about getting a tattoo for years and struggled with what to get and where to get it. When I finally made my decision, it was because of the importance of that stark orange helmet. It is distinctive. It is renowned. It is classic.
At a hotel pool in Ireland last year, someone saw it and said “Oh, you’re from Cleveland?” I couldn’t believe it – even in Ireland where they don’t even have real football, they know. (Sigh, yes you can see it if you follow me on Twitter because it’s my avi.)
For the record, I’m also completely opposed to pink jerseys. Pink Jerseys? Really? Let me share a secret with the guys reading this: girls who wear pink jerseys don’t really like football, they just want to look cute. And I’m ok with girls trying to look their best, but let’s get real here: there’s nothing hotter than a girl wearing a brown #73 Joe Thomas jersey or an old school#32 Jim Brown jersey. It sends a message to guys that she knows a thing or two about football and is not just high maintenance arm candy. (Catty, but true. Meow.)
I’ve heard nothing about this coming from the Browns organization, as it’s all been talk amongst fans. But if the Browns would really consider making changes to sell more merchandise, then how about they just win games? Bring in some players that will become stars so the fans want to buy their jerseys. Put a winning product on the field so we can all buy “AFC North Champions” shirts. (I’ll take two of those, please.) But let’s not start talking craziness about changing the Browns helmet.
I am proud to say that most of the people I follow on Twitter or talk to every day agree with me. LEAVE THE HELMET ALONE. I’d like to think that the Browns themselves respect the history and tradition of the orange helmet. Hopefully we are on the right track to making that helmet the most fearsome thing an opponent will see on the field during the NFL season. Because that is all any Cleveland Browns fan wants – to be feared and respected by 31 other teams.