New Cleveland Browns Uniforms: Minor changes or total makeover?

Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns have expressed a strong interest in new uniforms for 2020, though nobody knows for sure whether the design will draw upon historic roots or feature some more dramatic change.

Cleveland Browns owner Dee Haslam has been blunt about her dissatisfaction with the uniforms. From a functional standpoint, she has said that the players have complained that the fit is not quite right and the fans have not totally embraced the newest re-design, introduced in 2015.

At that time the Browns modified their color scheme with different, more reddish hue of orange as well as a deeper brown. Some of the more garish features include odd-looking chevrons on the sleeves, the orange logos “CLEVELAND” or “BROWNS” on the front of some of the jersey in small, difficult-to-read letters. Overall, it was frankly not a very good effort.

However, the NFL requires teams to stay with the same jerseys for six years at a time, so 2020 is the earliest time to rectify those mistakes. This rule enhances the value of jersey licenses. Fans don’t want their Baker Mayfield jersey to be obsolete too soon, so the league guarantees Nike and other uniform companies the NFL teams will not make changes any more rapidly than every six years.

More from Dawg Pound Daily

Haslam appears to be taking a more active role in the 2020 exercise than for the 2015 redesign. That is probably a good thing, because Dee is known for being more media savvy, as CEO of RIVR Media and having come from a family with a background in advertising. She also is known as an artist and minored in Art in college. Jimmy Haslam, on the other hand is the CEO of Pilot Flying J, an oil company with truck stops all over America. We might trust him to choose the right coffee or hot dogs for stadium concessions, but Dee is probably the better choice to be involved in uniform design.

Believe it or not the iconic orange helmets were not the original design for the team. In 1946, the helmets were white. The orange helmets were first used for night games starting in 1950, and became the only design in 1952. The Browns have never had a logo on the side of the helmet, unless you want to count putting the players’ numbers on the helmets briefly circa 1957 to 1960. The reason is the Browns were thinking mainly of the fans in the stadium rather than watching on TV. If you’re sitting in the upper deck, you are not going to be able to see intricate logos on the sides of the helmets. Similarly, if you’re a fan in the upper deck, you won’t be able to see cute little logos on the sides of the players’ helmets. That’s a feature for TV.

The Browns were innovators in the functional development of the modern helmet, if not the latest in style trends. Paul Brown and equipment manager Leo Murphy famously invented the face guard on the fly at halftime in a game in 1953 when Otto Graham received a huge gash in his mouth, but wanted to continue playing. Somehow, Murphy came up with a way to attach a piece of plastic to Graham’s helmet, and the face guard was born.

In 2015, Browns fans had a go at designing new uniforms, and some of them were very good, much better than the designs they wound up with. Many people admired the work of Browns fan Scot Robinson, though perhaps it needed to be toned back a little. The stripes on the sides of the jerseys and the pants might be overly prominent. Still overall it’s a very attractive design that is faithful to the team’s original concept.

Next. Browns to visit with Miss. St. DT Jeffery Simmons. dark

Here’s hoping that Mrs. Haslam’s group incorporates some of these design elements for the next set of jerseys. For her part, she says they believe they will get it right this time. She promises a no-frills approach that will not introduce any new colors.

Fans of Dawg Pound Daily are encouraged to link their own designs in the comments section of this post.