The Cleveland Browns uniform has seen numerous changes over the years despite its consistent look. Many of the modern features on the uniform are actually nods to the past as were several alternate uniforms worn by the team throughout the years.
Let’s take a look at the uniform history of one of the NFL’s cornerstone franchises who took the league by storm back in 1950 after dominating the All-America Football Conference from 1946-49.
Keep in mind that the Browns are a pre-1960 franchise and along with the Colts and 49ers, will be the only two teams I’ll cover prior to the dawn of the NFL’s modern era that began in 1960. This is due to the fact the teams were founded close to 1960 and already took on a somewhat modern uniform look while teams like the Bears and Packers held looks that differed entirely from what was adopted in the 1940s, therefore I’ll be simply summarizing the history of these teams prior to 1960.
The Browns debuted with plain, white leatherhead helmets. Brown jerseys debuted with orange numbering and white drop shadow (later changed to white numbering), with a white-orange-white-orange-white sleeve combo, white pants, orange and brown trim, brown socks with the same striping as the sleeves, and black shoes.
Related: Cleveland Browns Logo History
White jerseys consisted of brown numbering, orange drop shadow, a brown-orange-brown-orange-brown set of sleeve striping, white pants with orange and brown trim, and white socks featuring the same striping as seen on the shoulder.
The team’s home socks were still brown but with orange-white-orange-white-orange striping.
Orange helmets debuted for select games and the sock striping on the home socks returned to white-orange-white-orange-white. The home pants switched to a faint silver.
The Browns returned to wearing white helmets full time in the regular season. Pants returned to traditional white.
The Browns adopted plastic orange helmets with a white crown stripe.
The Browns wore orange jerseys with white numbering at home. The sleeve striping was a brown-white-brown-white-brown pattern, along with orange socks featuring the same pattern.
The Browns adopted plastic facemasks for select helmets and returned to wearing brown jerseys full time.
Gray facemasks were adopted full-time.
The Browns adopted numbers to be worn on the sides of their helmet.
The now-familiar brown-white-brown stripe appeared at the helmet crown.
TV numbers were added to the sleeves. The orange and the pants striping is slightly widened.
The Browns added spacing between sleeve stripes on their home jersey.
The jersey striping was spaced out on the road white jerseys.
The sock striping matched the jersey striping.
The brown jerseys did not appear at all this season.
The team paired home socks with their white road jerseys. White shoes appear for the first time.
The Browns adopt orange pants with brown and white trim for the first time. The facemasks change from gray to white. The white road socks return.
Orange outlines appear on the numbering for both jerseys. The home stripes consisted of two thin white stripes and a think orange stripe. The pants trim was now brown-orange-brown and solid brown socks debuted for the first time. The road jersey stripes were orange-brown-orange with orange socks appearing.
The uniform returns to ‘normal’ with the classic brown and white jerseys returning. The striping on the white jersey returns to its pre-1969 form as do the socks. The pants return to their traditional orange-brown-orange striping.
The Browns were one of few teams not to participate in NFL throwback weekends during the league’s Diamond Anniversary, instead simply adopting a jersey patch commemorating the year.
The Browns did not wear their brown jerseys during the season, marking the last time the jersey would make an appearance until 1999 after the team’s three-season hiatus from 1996-1998.
The Browns returned to the league with two major changes: The TV numbers now appeared on the shoulders and the orange and brown trim on the pants stripe was widened. They also wore a jersey patch commemorating their return to the league.
The Browns adopted an AL Patch after the death of owner Al Lerner that year. They also wore an orange jersey as an alternate for the first time since the 1950s. This jersey consisted of white numbering, brown shadow, and brown-white-brown-white-brown trim with solid brown socks.
The Browns added the AL initials to their jersey sleeves, just in front of the striping. They reverted to wearing solid brown socks, and the pants trim on the road pants were now brown-orange-brown while the trim on the home pants was brown-white-orange-white-brown. Finally, orange pants returned, worn with both the home and road uniforms for select games.
The team adopted a 60th season patch along with 1950s throwback uniforms reminiscent of the 1957 look. The pants striping reverted to orange-brown-orange, and the home jersey featured a darker brown with the original sleeve striping for the first time since 1967. Also, the team returned to wearing black shoes and gray facemasks.
The Browns adopted solid brown pants to be worn with the road uniforms along with the return of white socks featuring brown-orange-brown-orange-brown striping.
The team ditched the brown pants, returning to wearing white pants on the road full time.
The Browns wore white jerseys for all sixteen regular season games.
The team paired brown pants with brown jerseys for the first time in team history.
Massive uniform change. The orange helmets became more vibrant and the team adopted brown facemasks for the first time. The crown striping held a unique design as well.
The new home jersey was brown with orange numbering and white shadow. CLEVELAND appeared on the chest in orange and the sleeves were now an orange-white-orange combination.
The road jerseys now bore orange numbers with brown drop shadow, CLEVELAND on the chest in brown, and brown-orange-brown striping.
The alternate orange jerseys had white numbers with brown shadow, brown-white-brown striping, and CLEVELAND across the chest in white.
Related: Cleveland Browns Helmet History
The pants were white with brown-orange-brown trim and the phrase BROWNS running up the side in brown. Another set of pants were brown with orange-white-orange striping with BROWNS running up the sides in orange. The orange pants had brown-white-brown striping with BROWNS running up the sides in brown.
Brown and orange socks appeared with the look as well as black shoes.
The Browns also wore seven different combinations (nine if one counts the socks as a major part of the uniform), the most in team history and some nicknamed them the ‘Oregon Ducks of the NFL.’
The phrase DAWG POUND appeared inside the jersey collar.
The Browns wore thirteen different uniform combinations, including a road Color Rush with white socks.
The Browns ditched the orange jersey and pants.
Orange pants returned. The Browns also became the final team to debut their Color Rush uniform featuring a brown jersey, orange sleeve striping, orange numbering, brown pants, and orange trim.
The Browns adopted their Color Rush look as their home look.
On April 15th, 2020, the Browns unveiled a new uniform set, which primarily incorporates old looks. Back are the burnt orange helmets, but with a matte finish and brown facemask. The classic jerseys are back, but with an orange Nike swoosh at the sleeve. Also back are the classic pants piping and striped brown socks.
The road look incorporates both the classic look – with the white, striped socks returning, plus a set of brown pants that contain orange and brown piping, resembling the 2018-2019 Color Rush.
The new Color Rush removed all the striping from the previous look, but otherwise remains the same.
You can view a gallery of the 2020 look here.
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