Just over one week before the NFL Draft and a little after some other teams around the NFL unveiled their new uniforms, the Cleveland Browns took the stage and brought back their classic look, one that was greatly welcomed back by the Dawg Pound, one that both former and current players love and fans seem to like as well. With the new (old?) look back in Cleveland, some of the WFNY crew discussed their thoughts on the new uniforms, including what they like and don’t like, would change, the jersey number and color they would buy, and even how they would (or wouldn’t) include the Elf on the jersey:
First and foremost, do you like the uniforms and why do you or don’t you?
Scott: I do. I should also say I didn’t terribly mind the last ones and that, largely, I think being overly emotional about uniforms is kind of silly. This all said, the Alec Scheiner-led Browns era is one I’d love to erase from memory, and if that means reverting back to the more classic and refined imagery, I’m all for it. I’m one of those people who simultaneously likes what the Seahawks and schools like Oregon produce for their weekly uniforms while also appreciating the tried-and-true kits like Green Bay, Penn State, and the rest. The trick is being one side of this sliding scale and not trying to force your way to the other. The Browns did that this offseason.
Bode: The Browns uniforms are once again in a classic style, which is what the Browns uniforms should be. The numbers are clean, the striping is crisp. There are a bunch of good components about this kit, which makes it unsurprising the overall feedback from former-and-current players, fans, and media have been positive. I am personally not a fan of monochromatic football uniforms, so I am less a fan of the color rush and all-whites. Still, those are both popular, and popularity often drives fandom.
Poloha: Love it. The Browns went back to the classics, which is a uniform set that they never should have left to begin with. The custom font for the numbers is different as well, a good type of different. I wish the would have left the Color Rush jerseys from the past couple years as is, but besides them removing the stripes from those, I’m all in on these new threads. Kudos to you, Browns.
Gerbs: Am I allowed to like them if I also recognize that they are the same things as the one that came with the Re-Return? They follow the classic style many fans miss, so they are great in my book. It’s not hard to screw up new unis and Cleveland didn’t by returning to things they did well before.
Andrew: I suppose I could preface all of my answers by saying that, traditionally, I’m not someone who gets too worked up by uniforms. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are good uniforms and bad ones, but I tend not to let bad uniforms really affect me in any way. By nature, I am a traditionalist so I mostly want teams’ uniforms to stay true to a team’s history1. So, having said all that, I think the new Browns uniforms are good. Really good, actually. It stays true to the team’s history while offering some subtle differences to give them a modern feel.
Valentino: Forget “like” them. I LOVE them. The Browns look like the Browns again. They threaded a needle in terms of getting back to a classic look while retaining some elements (brown face mask, new shade of orange) from the otherwise disastrous uniforms of 2015-19, and added a nice wrinkle with the new number font. Speaking of which, I’ll go ahead and say it: The Browns now have the best proprietary number font for their jerseys of any team in sports. Teams that get away from traditional block fonts are playing with fire. (Three seasons in, and I still struggle to read the numbers on some of the Cavs’ current jerseys.) What the Browns have now is distinct, yet clean.
If you could change one thing about the jerseys, what would it be?
Scott: Some of the names on the back. OK, that’s probably not in the spirit of the question, but honestly, nothing. I’m on board.
Bode: The one component of uniform, rather than jersey, to change would be to add back in the classic orange pants with brown and white piping. Perhaps even the color rush would look better with orange pants that had brown piping on the side.
Poloha: Nothing. Well, maybe something orange, but that’s it.
Gerbs: Getting an orange pant would be fine but whatevs, I’m good and sold.
Andrew: I would change the color rush ones to be the same as last year’s color rush, but that’s a minor complaint. I still love the new color rush uniforms as well, and if it were up to me, I’d just have the Browns wear color rush every week.
Valentino: I’d have retained the orange stripes on the Color Rush jerseys and pants so that they’re a bit more cohesive with the rest of the set, but otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. The primary brown and white jerseys are perfect.
The Browns seem to be paying homage to their past, going back to their “classic” look, one that they had prior to the radical changes Nike made to the jersey in 2015. While they went back to their classic look in terms of the jersey, they kept the same style of helmets that they had recently but changed everything else. Do you wish they would’ve changed their helmets as well?
Scott: I would assume the style of the helmets is largely rooted in technology and keeping players safe while allowing them to perform at peak levels. I’m not sure what they could have changed in them. I guess true throwbacks would’ve been leather. Posers…
Bode: Dark color facemasks — as noted by WFNY Commentariat member, RGB — is easier to see through than bright colors that pull vision towards them. So, that component could be an actual play positive. Otherwise, I have seen some ask to have wider or thinner stripes and, well, I think it is just fine as is.
Poloha: Given that the Browns are stuck with the colors they have, I wouldn’t change anything.
Gerbs: You can only change so much. If you wanna get real old school, put the numbers on the helmets. Otherwise, it’s fine.
Andrew: I like the helmets as they are.
Valentino: The brown face mask looks a lot better in reality than I thought it would when it was announced in 2015. The thicker stripes look good. It seems they’ve done away with the carbon fiber print on the brown stripes, but I’m indifferent on that because it was so subtle to begin with, I would bet a large number of fans never noticed it was there when they were watching games the past 5 years. The new helmet—”oranger” orange, thick stripes, brown face mask—is exactly what it needs to be to complement this uniform.
In terms of the jersey, pants, and socks, what is your perfect combo?
Scott: I continue to be a huge fan of the Color Rush. I saw some folks online throwing shade that there weren’t stripes on the pants, but I honestly couldn’t care less. They are sleek, crisp, and punch-you-in-the-face basic. No branding on the front (more teams need to do this), just the numerals, and the name on the back, letting the helmet do all the talking. Color Rush uniforms are incredibly easy to screw up given the liberties that get to be taken by the design teams. I love the two-color palette and for the team’s base colorway to be orange and brown, I think they did a terrific job.
Bode: Brown jersey, orange pants (add them, please), brown socks, orange shoes. All with appropriate piping and striping. White jersey would still have the orange pants but with white socks and white shoes though with orange shoelaces and highlights.
Poloha: I honestly don’t really have a favorite. It just depends on the day, I guess. Win games and I’ll love whatever jerseys they are wearing for those Ws.
Gerbs: Brown jersey, white pants (if we aren’t bringing in anything we haven’t seen already), white socks with orange stripes.
Andrew: I love the color rush jerseys as I said before. They continue to be my favorite uniforms the Browns have ever worn. But I like all the looks, for the most part.
Valentino: I’m a big fan of the primary brown jersey and the white jersey. White pants to go with either. The new brown pants that will be paired with the white jerseys are better than the solid brown ones they tried pre-2015, but they just don’t quite as good as the white pants with the orange and brown stripes.
Along those same lines, if you could create your own uniform, what color would everything be? (You must keep the same orange/brown/white template.)
Bode: See above. Or the closest representation I could find below.
Poloha: I’m digging Bode’s suggestion. I’m also all-in on the orange-brown combo, whether it be tops and pants or vice versa.
Gerbs: Despite the fact that I have said I like the old school style, I kinda wanna see what an all-orange Color Rush would look like. Highlighter game against the Seahawks and break everyone’s TVs.
Andrew: Call me a broken record, but I would just design the color rush uniforms. I think they’re perfect.
Valentino: I don’t have to design the perfect uniform. The Browns already unveiled it this week.
The Browns are rumored to be bringing back the Elf much more in advertising and team apparel going forward. Do you wish they Elf made an appearance on the jersey or helmet?
Scott: There is no doubt in my mind that they easing Brownie back into a more prominent place, but this doesn’t mean he has to be displayed on the uniform in any capacity. Slider isn’t on the Indians’ hats. If you wanted to make him a small part of the sleeve or something, that’s fine by me, but keep your hands off the helmet. (That said, I could be sold on putting numbers on the helmet like way back in the day…)
Bode: The Dawgpound should have remained a fan-based idea rather than being incorporated by the team. The Brownie is fine for the team to incorporate as it originated from them. I would be neutral on it, but Art Modell hated it and Paul Brown enjoyed it; so I am pro-Brownie — on merchandise, not uniforms.
Poloha: Put the Elf on team apparel and that’s it. As far as the actual jerseys go, just stick with tradition and the “classic” look. The Elf would just look weird on the jersey, honestly.
Gerbs: I am in a pro-Brownie household, whether that be in sweet treat form or logo. Advertising and whatnot is fine, but as the guys said…not on the jerseys.
Andrew: I’m with everyone else on this. Use Brownie as much as you want in apparel and marketing. I’m a big fan. But there’s no reason to put it on uniforms and certainly not on the helmet.
Valentino: The elf is a great logo. It has history, but unlike the Indians’ lifeless Block C, it also has unique character. I’d be all in favor of painting it at midfield (but please keep those striped end zones!). The elf is great for merchandise, and I would like to see networks adopt it as the logo that appears on graphics during games. That said, it doesn’t need to actually appear on the uniforms.
If you could only buy one jersey, which player and color would you pick…and why?
Scott: I have an Odell Beckham Jr. Color Rush, so I don’t see the need to re-up that. I may look into getting a Beckham classic jersey, or switch it up altogether and go with Chubb in one of the classic colors — probably white as my Denzel Ward jersey is brown. That’s my final answer. A white Chubb. (Heh.)
Bode: Joe Thomas; for display purposes.
Poloha: Can’t stop laughing at Scott’s answer, but I’d probably go with a brown Myles Garrett or Denzel Ward, with the latter being due to the fact that he’s a former Ohio State Buckeye.
Gerbs: Am I legally allowed to say anything other than Baker? Give me a brown with white numbers/lettering. No. 6 would be worn every Sunday into infinity.
Andrew: Jarvis Landry is one of my favorite Browns players ever, so despite my decision a few years back to stop buying jerseys, I find myself kind of wanting to buy a new Jarvis jersey. I want the color rush, but I also like that the brown and white ones have 1964 inside the collar (whereas color rush just says “color rush” inside the collar). As an OSU alum, though, I’m also thinking about getting a Denzel Ward jersey. Maybe I’ll get a color rush Jarvis and a brown Ward jersey.
Valentino: I’d be happy with either the home or the away. Nick Chubb is probably my favorite player on the roster at the moment, but given their short shelf life in the NFL, a running back’s jersey seems like a risky purchase. I already own a Baker Mayfield Color Rush. I’m a big Jarvis Landry fan. TL; DR version: I’m not sure which jersey I’d buy. But if the Browns were to one day decide that the co-host of a certain Cleveland podcast is enough of a big-timer around town for them to send me one like they have been doing for some other familiar media personalities, I would politely tell them… “I wear an XXL.”