NFL

Why Are the Cleveland Browns’ Uniforms Orange?

The Cleveland Browns have been receiving a lot of buzz this NFL preseason. They’re looking to contend for the first time in years and fans are excited. One somewhat confusing aspect of the team, however, has to do with their colors. Why would a team called the Browns have orange uniforms? The answer lies with the team’s history. 

The origin of the Browns’ name and colors

Quite simply, the Cleveland Browns’ uniforms are orange because they aren’t named for the color brown. They’re named after their former coach, Paul Brown.  The Browns originated in the All-American Football Conference before coming to the NFL in 1946. The team was known as one of the best of its era, which may come as a surprise to many modern fans:

“With such all-time greats as quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley and tackle-kicker Lou Groza leading the way, Cleveland won all four AAFC championships and amassed a 52-4-3 winning record.”

The Browns have had multiple variations in their uniforms over the years, although never shifting from the brown and orange color scheme. This will remain the same in the future, as the team plans to debut a new set of uniforms in 2020 that keep the traditional colors. 

While the team name is the Browns, that leaves little room to the imagination for a mascot. The Browns do have a few of those, however. 

The Cleveland Browns’ mascots

Browns fans refer to themselves as the “Dawg Pound.” This was originated by Browns’ fans Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield attending Browns’ training camp in 1985: 

The Dawg Pound didn’t start in Cleveland, it was born in Kirtland, Ohio.  Lakeland Community College was the location of the 1985 preseason camp of the Cleveland Browns. Most people have heard the saying of a QB playing “cat and mouse” with a defense.  Making calls and audible’s based on what the defense is showing, etc.  Dixon and Minnifield had an issue with this.  They didn’t want to be known as mice.  They decided they wanted to be the Dog in the fight.  This lead to the defensive players barking when they made positive plays in camp.”

Browns fans have really taken to the “Dawg Pound” moniker, some even wearing dog masks. It also led the team to adopt two dog mascots

  • Swagger. Born on July 20, 2013, this 120-pound (real live) bulldog has nine brothers and sisters. He likes to chew on elk antlers and terrible towels. His favorite food is fried raven. 
  •  Chomps. This more traditional mascot (read: a person in a dog suit) is #00 for the Browns and calls the Dawg Pound home. 

The Cleveland Browns’ recent history

While the Browns have one of the most supportive fan bases in all of football, they’ve had a fairly tough history in the last 30 or so years. Consider some of the bad luck the team has encountered: 

  • The Browns made it to the 1987 championship game behind quarterback Bernie Kosar only to lose in heartbreaking fashion after a late-game Earnest Byner fumble. 
  • Then-owner Art Modell moved the team from Cleveland to Baltimore in the mid-’90s. 
  • The NFL granted Cleveland an expansion franchise to begin play in 1999. The team has had a rotating quarterback carousel ever since, struggling to achieve relevance. 
  • Under coach Hue Jackson, the Browns went 1-31 over the 2016-2017 seasons. That includes a winless season. 

Despite all that hardship, there’s hope for the Cleveland faithful. Last season, the Browns went 7-8-1 under rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. After trading for former New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham, the team now feels it has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs – and maybe an outside shot at a championship.