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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cleveland Browns Uniform and Team History



Please click on the evolution of the Browns uniform poster above for a close-up version of the poster. The descriptions below give you some insight and background about the uniforms and/or eras depicted in the poster.

An explanation of the lineage of the Browns franchise:
This franchise was established in 1946 as a charter member of the new AAFC (All American Football Conference). At the end of the 1949 season, the AAFC ceased operations and the Browns joined the NFL where they remained until 1995. In 1996, Browns owner Art Modell made the decision to move the team from Cleveland to Baltimore. After a large outcry from Cleveland fans, an agreement was made between the city of Cleveland and the NFL to keep the team's history, name and colors in Cleveland, while Modell's team in Baltimore would be regarded as an expansion team. The Baltimore Ravens would begin play in 1996, and the Browns would return to the league in 1999. For record-keeping purposes, the Browns are considered to have suspended operations from 1996 to 1998.


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Cleveland Browns 1946 uniform
1946
The beginning of a beautiful relationship! Opening day, September 6, 1946: 60,135 fans pack into Cleveland Municipal Stadium to watch Paul Brown’s team kick-off its inaugural season in the All-America Football Conference (that’s almost twice as many that witnessed the previous season’s NFL championship match!). The 1946 jersey, synonymous with the Otto Graham era, showcases a ‘drop shadow’ effect on the chest numbers – the only jersey in Browns’ history to do so.


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Cleveland Browns 1950 uniform
1950
Marks the Browns’ first season in the NFL – after winning an amazing four straight All-America Football Conference titles. Their overall regular season record in the AAFC…47-4-3! Two interesting points about the team’s helmet: the color switched from white to orange (and has remained that color since). The helmet did not include a facemask and continued that way in the early 1950s.


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Cleveland Browns 1957 uniform
1957
A very special year in Browns’ history – as Jim Brown joins the squad, out of Syracuse. Note that numbers have now been added to the jersey sleeves – directly above the striping. If you look closely, you’ll also notice a rare oddity: there are numbers on the helmet, directly above the ear – in a hand-drawn appearance. Teams often place numbers on the back, but this is one of the only times you’ll ever see numbers, especially this large, on the side of the helmet!


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Cleveland Browns 1964 home uniform
Cleveland Browns 1964 road uniform
1964 - Home and Away
Lucky number 27 for Cleveland! On December 27 – the Browns whip the Baltimore Colts 27-0 in the championship game of the NFL. Frank Ryan throws three touchdown passes – all to Gary Collins to help capture the title. Pictured are Cleveland’s home and away jerseys to commemorate this banner year. Note the position of the sleeve numbers, which have been moved away from the striping of previous years’ jerseys.


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Cleveland Browns 1969 uniform
1969
Three interesting points to note about the ’69 jersey: the striping pattern on the sleeves has been altered from past years. The numbers have been shifted back down closer to the striping, and finally, the NFL shield/crest commemorating the 50th anniversary has been added to the left shoulder.


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Cleveland Browns 1972 home uniform
Cleveland Browns 1972 road uniform
1972
The Browns go an impressive 10-4 during the regular season, only to lose in the divisional playoff game to the eventual Super Bowl champions – the Miami Dolphins. Something for the trivia buffs – the Browns are the only NFL team to have never included a logo on their helmet!


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Cleveland Browns 1977 uniform
1977
Once again, the numbers have moved away from the sleeve striping. Did you happen to notice the color change in the pants – from white to orange? The Browns instituted this changeover in 1975 – and at least one of the two uniforms’ pants (either home or away) was orange until 1984.


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Cleveland Browns 1980 uniform
1980
This is the year of the ‘Kardiac Kids’. The Browns go 11-5 – finishing first in the AFC Central, often winning in the dying minutes or seconds of a contest. In the AFC Divisional Game played in Cleveland, the Raiders win a heartbreaker, 14-12, on a game-saving interception by the Raiders’ (in the end zone, no less!) with 41 seconds to play.


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Cleveland Browns 1984 uniform
1984
The Browns discard the orange pants – changing back to the familiar ‘whites’ for both home and away uniforms. They also add a narrow orange outline around the brown uniform numbers.


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Cleveland Browns 1994 uniform
1994
During this season, the NFL and its franchises were showcasing ‘throwback’ jerseys, or replicas of older uniforms – to help commemorate the NFL’s 75th anniversary. The 75th anniversary was also commemorated by the diamond patch on the upper left part of the torso. This particular jersey is not a throwback jersey - that was a white jersey which featured sleeve stripes similar to the 1964 jersey. If you look closely at this jersey, you’ll note a smaller patch – the NFL shield on the jersey’s neckline. Most NFL uniforms added the NFL logo patch to the neck and upper left thigh of the pants beginning in 1991.


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Cleveland Browns 1999 uniform
Cleveland Browns 2000 uniform
1999 & 2000
The Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens, the unprecedented and remarkable response from Browns fans prompted the NFL to promise the City of Cleveland a new team for the 1999 season.

As explained above: The Browns franchise was established in 1946 as a charter member of the new AAFC (All American Football Conference). At the end of the 1949 season, the AAFC ceased operations and the Browns joined the NFL where they remained until 1995. In 1996, Browns owner Art Modell made the decision to move the team from Cleveland to Baltimore. After a large outcry from Cleveland fans, an agreement was made between the city of Cleveland and the NFL to keep the team's history, name and colors in Cleveland, while Modell's team in Baltimore would be regarded as an expansion team. The Baltimore Ravens would begin play in 1996, and the Browns would return to the league in 1999. For record-keeping purposes, the Browns are considered to have suspended operations from 1996 to 1998.

The patch on the ’99 jersey (upper, left part of the torso) signals the return of the Browns to Cleveland. Football was back in Cleveland! On a closing note, look closely at the sleeve on the 2000 jersey – did you notice the elasticized band? Many NFL teams have added this feature to certain player’s jerseys not only to give the jersey a more aerodynamic look and feel, but to prevent opponents from grabbing onto excess material, and using it to their advantage!


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Cleveland Browns 2005 uniform
2005:
Text not yet written.

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Celebrate the Browns' uniform history by owning a piece of history:
If you love the Cleveland Browns and the history of the Browns franchise, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 14 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 14 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.

These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)



If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our Cleveland Browns YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0glulkfKpbI or go directly to the artwork website www.heritagesportsart.com/Cleveland-Browns-c111/ where you can see and purchase the artwork.

And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at www.heritagesportsart.com (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/user/ssillcox

And please search my blog archive http://heritagejerseys.blogspot.com/ for other blogs on the history of the Browns.

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This blog was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 17, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at ssillcox@rogers.com !

Many thanks!!!
Scott

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