Over the next few weeks, Rick and I, two of the bigger jersey junkies at the site, will tackle our opinions on the Cleveland teams’ uniforms, logos, and color schemes. You can find our takes on the Cavaliers’ uniforms here. Today, we’re tackling the iconic look of the Browns. Here’s a look at some of our favorites and ones we’d rather forget.
Rick: Recently the Browns broke out the all brown pants. The brown jersey/brown pants look certainly got a lot of attention and conversation around Browns town. I’ve seen reactions all over the board. Some certainly loved the look. Others compared them to fudgesicles and well, excrement. What was your take on the all-brown look and those brown pants without stripes in particular?
Kirk: I actually liked them. They were different, in a uniform scheme that never really differs. I thought they had a similar quality to the all-black Ravens or Saints uniform looks, which are sleek. I don’t know if it’s a look I would want for every game, but I wouldn’t mind it for one big game per year at home.
Rick: They wore those same pants with the white jerseys last week. Do you like them with the white?
Kirk: Yes, I definitely do. If I had my way, the Browns would primarily go with a white jersey/brown pants combo on the road and a brown jersey/orange pants combo at home with the possibility of brown on brown for a game or two.
I’m not a big fan of all-white combos, and the Browns’ is no exception. It’s just a little too plain for my liking.
Rick: Was that your take before last season? They wore the all whites *so* much last year.
Kirk: That was my take prior to last season, but that certainly didn’t help things. The all-white season last year was just a really stupid decision. They tried to make a statement like the Cowboys saying “we’ll wear whites at home because it’s unique”, and all it did was exclusively showcase their second best jersey. I don’t know many people who like the white jersey more than the brown one head-to-head.
Rick: True. I was OK with the all-brown. I think the stripe-less look on the pants works. One of my pet peeves about uniforms is the striping. The Browns have worn some stripe disasters over the years.
Kirk: Can you give me an example of bad striping?
Rick: Yes, take a look at this picture (to the left). So the helmet stripes are one color pattern and design, the shoulder stripes are a completely different set, and the pants are a third.
Kirk: Ok, yea, I’ll agree with that. The white stripes on the jersey are wider than the orange ones. It doesn’t look right at all. I think the stripes look better on the white jerseys, but with the current uniform, they’re a little smaller and evenly stacked.
Yea, that is a bit of a disaster, one that could be averted by having the brown on brown jerseys or orange pants that at least matched the helmet striping scheme
Rick: Right. I understand that the stripes won’t be exactly the same color pattern because of orange helmets, brown jerseys, etc, but the size and design could be similar. That happens all the time in the NFL actually.
Kirk: That Steelers counterpart there in the picture is a perfect example.
Rick: Exactly. If I were tinkering with the uniforms, I would like to see the striping consistent or at least complementary.
Kirk: The Browns have it right now on the white jerseys, but they still have the same problem on the browns when they wear white pants.
Rick: Which is a problem that could be solved with orange pants… Which brings me to my favorite look of all for the Browns. The orange helmet, brown jersey and orange pants uniform.
Kirk: Yes, it’s mine too. I don’t understand why they’ve been so hesitant to go back to them. I bet that it’s in the plans if I had to guess. They were worn by successful teams, and they’d be a unique look around the league again.
Rick: Take a look at the picture of the Browns in the huddle with the orange pants. This classic look has it all in my opinion. Notice how the helmet stripes and pants stripes are the same, and the sleeve stripes match the sock stripes. Symmetry.
Kirk: Yea, it’s truly great. I would prefer the number style of the “since ’99/current” look and maybe have the stripes a little higher up on the sleeves, but everything color-wise is just flawless.
Rick: That’s a great phrase you just used there, Kirk. The Browns have had some flaws in the color palette over the years. Take a look at the orange pants below.
Kirk: You aren’t kidding. They’ve had a grove of oranges, haven’t they?
Rick: There are three different oranges in that same photo. That drives me crazier than bad striping.
Kirk: Yea, the Ward photo makes them look like MC Hammer pants. Plus, there’s no excuse to not match the helmets and stripes on the jersey. I think the best done orange combo is the photo below and to the right. The other look makes the orange jerseys far, far too bright.
Rick: So let’s talk about the orange jerseys.
Kirk: Again, as with the brown on brown, I’m good with these once a year. I really liked them when they debuted them in 2002, but I’ve cooled a little bit on them. They need to find a shade of orange for these and stick with it (it SHOULD NOT be hard to match the helmet). I’m not sure if white pants or brown pants would be better with these, probably white. NO ALL ORANGE!
What about you, are you good with it as an option in the bag?
Rick: Personally, I don’t like the look of the orange jerseys with the orange helmets. Too much orange. I know that the orange jerseys were pretty unpopular before. They may have been the most polarizing of the uniform combos. But, I do remember Jimmy Haslam talking about the orange when he first came to town. I don’t think that he would go against the advice of his researchers though. I agree that all orange would be a disaster.
Kirk: Let’s talk a little about logos and mascots. Do you like Brownie, the dawg theme, or are you good with just the helmet and typeface logos?
Rick: Hmmm. I actually don’t mind Brownie. I think that used sparingly it is classic and unique. I used to think that getting rid of the dawg theme would be fine, but the more I think about it, the more I think that the team needs to embrace what the fans made so popular.
Kirk: I LOVE Brownie. I wouldn’t mind him being used on national television graphics and such instead of just the “BROWNS” or the helmet. I’m on board with them bringing him back as the primary mascot and phasing out “Chomps”. I think the dawg theme is the one that should be celebrated and recognized in the unofficial capacity by the fans. So many of the things they’ve done with that have been lame. Like this one and the Red Dog beer ripoff.
Rick: Having a kid has changed my take a bit on mascots and branding. A tiger, bear, or other classic animal would help my daughter be more interested in wearing gear of my favorite NFL team.
Kirk: I can respect and understand that. The second one isn’t as bad as the first one. If they had to keep a secondary dawg logo, I’d choose that one. It *is* sort of intimidating, I suppose.
And it goes back to one of the things that is this franchise’s greatest gift and curse. Their look is iconic, and most people love it. But, there are some that hate it and think it’s the worst in the NFL. They many reasons, but one of them is the lack of a recognizable logo.
Rick: True. And let’s just talk about apparel for a second. Brown and orange are not the best colors in the world for a jacket or t-shirt.
I think that’s a part of the issue as well.
Kirk: No, they’re not, but I love how if you wear the two in tandem, there’s no mistake that you’re wearing another team’s colors. There are double digit teams in MLB with some sort of red and blue scheme. The Cavs have either the Knicks (orange and blue) or Rockets (red and gold) to mirror the look. For me, it’s a balance for branding in keeping brown the primary but accenting it well with orange in appropriate ways. Most of the stuff that has mainly orange in Browns’ gear generally doesn’t look good.
Rick: Let’s talk about the throwback uniforms for a second, because it will also bring in the no logo helmets. What was your opinion of the throwbacks from a few years back with the white stripe and uniform numbers?
Kirk: It’s about the only deviation from the standard helmet look that I would allow. I’d rather scrap it than keep it, but if it comes out once a year, I’m not going to make a big stink about it.
Any opinion on best font?
Rick: Given the choice, I’d take the current one. I liked the throwback helmets, except that the numerical font was different on the helmet than the jerseys.
Kirk: I like them both, but I’ll give a slight edge to the current one as well. That is slightly annoying with the numbers being a little small.
Rick: It all kind of goes back to the idea that you either drastically change everything (ala Patriots/Broncos/Seahawks) or you keep everything classic.
Kirk: What a brilliant point. The Patriots and Broncos are the first two that come to mind in successful reboots of their uniforms. I think the outrage that would come by Haslam and Co. drastically changing things would be too much to overcome for them. I think their best bet is to mix things up with the pants and keep the rest of the alterations minor (striping, number font, etc.)
Rick: Yes. I agree. A complete re-brand may actually be the best business decision long term, but it would really tick off the fan base in the short term.
Kirk: I think they can do some things outside of the jerseys themselves with logos, secondary logos, and signage to give the team and the city some more easily identifiable logos and develop the brand further. Just to tick off Craig, I’ll conclude with “I don’t care what they wear. I just want them to win games!!!!”