Established in 1946 as a member of the All-American Football Conference, the Cleveland Browns are one of the NFL’s most unique franchises. Out of the entire league, they are the only team named after a former coach – legend Paul Brown. The Browns are also the only team in the NFL without a logo on their helmet.
The team has played in the league for sixty-eight seasons and has a total of eight championships – all pre-Super Bowl era. With these victories coming before the big game was even created – the Browns have yet to appear in a Super Bowl.
The Browns were a source of attention in 1995, when owner Art Modell looked to move the team to Baltimore. Cleveland retained rights to the team and its namesake, but Modell’s move transformed the franchise into the Baltimore Ravens. The Browns were re-introduced as an expansion team in 1999 and have struggled to find success in the years since.
Built in 1998 as the new Cleveland Browns’ stadium – FirstEnergyStadium serves as their home field. The stadium is situated on the same grounds where the Cleveland Municipal Stadium once stood – the gridiron where the Browns won all eight of their championships. With a current capacity of 73,200 – FirstEnergyStadium serves as the ideal location for the Browns to call home.
Read on to see how the Browns have transformed their jersey since their inception, and how their iconic helmets compare in fashion & popularity to the rest of the league.
Notable Jersey Changes
1948: Cleveland’s first uniform combination consists of plain white helmets with white and brown jerseys. A brown-orange trim aligns the pants and sleeves of the jersey, and the numbers feature a light shadow.
1950: The team introduces the classic orange helmet for the first time—a feature that is still used today.
1953: An orange jersey with minimal brown and white coloring is used. The orange jerseys would come and go throughout the years before making an updated return in 2015.
1957: For the only time in franchise history, the Browns add an image to the helmet in the form of player numbers.
1960: The familiar brown striping is added to the team’s helmet and brown player numbers also make an appearance on the sleeves.
1969: A special patch is added to the uniform’s left shoulder in celebration of the NFL’s 50th anniversary. Thin, white stripes were also added to the sleeves.
1970: The Browns add player names to the back of the jerseys.
1975: The Browns opt for orange pants – a first in team history. Facemasks are also changed to white.
1984: Jerseys are redesigned with bold orange trim, and orange pants are replaced by white pants that feature a center orange stripe outlined in brown. Also, brown jerseys are worn with orange numbers, before being removed due to difficulty of identifying players on the field.
1985 (1986 depicted): After just one season, the team ditches the intricate design and return to the old-fashioned Browns look.
1999: The franchise moves to Baltimore, but a new ownership group would reinstate the Browns franchise with a “return” to Cleveland. The team wore a “1999” patch to celebrate the return.
2002: Orange jerseys are featured as an alternative uniform kit. The jerseys feature white numbers with a brown drop shadow.
2003: Orange pants return, only to disappear a few seasons later.
2008: The Browns introduce solid brown pants for the first time.
2013: Following the NFL’s change to Nike as the uniform provider, the Browns change their look – sporting an all brown uniform appearance.
2015: The Browns underwent drastic changes to a design that has seen little significant alteration for the majority of the franchise’s existence. All three jerseys were redesigned with new striping, updated colors and a bold font. The pants now feature partial striping with the team name on the side, and the jersey adds the city name over the number in large, block font. Cleveland also adds a brown face mask for the first time.
Looking Back to Look Forward
Although the Browns have yet to see a Super Bowl victory, or appearance for that matter – the team has witnessed legendary players take the field, decked in their trademark brown and orange jerseys. The team has a total of eight championships with sixteen players inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame – the sixth highest total league-wide. The organization has been noted to lean on the stingy side when it comes to retiring jerseys – with the current number standing at five.
Since their inception into the National Football League, the Browns have retired five jersey numbers:
No. 14 – Otto Graham
No. 32 – Jim Brown
No. 45 – Ernie Davis
No. 46 – Don Fleming
No. 76 – Lou Groza
Heading over to FirstEnergyStadium to support the #ClevelandBrowns? Be sure to stop by Fanatics – the one stop shop for all your Browns essentials!