Finding Mudville: Browns uniforms are sacred

  • Tuesday, November 12, 2013



The NFL is about to go too far this time.

First, they took the squatting football patriot off the New England Patriots helmets. Then, they messed up the beloved dolphin mascot of Ace Ventura fame on the Miami Dolphins helmets. They got lucky with the Cincinnati Bengals tiger stripes thing, but lacked the fortitude to follow it up with spots for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the Jags, giving their helmets spots, what worse could it do than they are right now?

But this time, they’ve gone too far.

I read an article yesterday on how the Cleveland Browns are in the two-year process of overhauling their football uniforms, including the chocolate brown jerseys and the plain orange helmet.

I was aghast at this news.

The Cleveland Browns are like the New York Yankees of the NFL. Their uniforms and uniform colors are sacred.

The Browns are the only sports team in existence named after a specific living person, Hall of Fame Coach Paul Brown. The Browns were almost named the Panthers originally, according to Wikipedia, but local businessman General C. X. Zimmerman, who owned a Cleveland Panthers team, which was a member of the first American Football League in 1926, asserted his rights to the name.

The Browns motif was simple orange and brown, the helmet an empty sea of orange divided by a pair of brown stripes bookending a larger white stripe in the middle. No other adornment was considered necessary.

Next to Penn State, the Cleveland Browns have and had the most boring uniforms in all of football, but like the Nittany Lions, when you saw those plain orange helmets, or lily white uniforms about to play in that mud lolly called Municipal Stadium on the shores of Lake Erie in sleet and snow, you knew your team was playing.

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and during my formative years, I was a Cleveland Browns fan.

Jim Brown was my all-time favorite football player. The Dirty Dozen is one of my favorite movies simply because Jim Brown is in it. I thought Jim Brown was the fastest, strongest, most powerful running back ever, and in back yard football games everybody wanted to be Jim Brown.

In fact, to get by the arguments that often turned into game-ending fist fights before the game even started we decided to have a team of just Jim Browns.

We all wore some variation of the Cleveland Browns jersey, some with numbers and some with Cleveland Browns scripted across the front. One thing these jerseys had in common though, were the familiar brown and orange colors and the plain orange helmet.

And now they want to change this?

They want to desecrate my beloved Browns?

That would be like the Yankees doing away with their pinstripes, or not shaving for six months. If anybody from Duck Dynasty were to ever play for the New York Yankees, the beards would be the first to go.

Changing the Browns’ helmets – which may include a block “B” set in the middle of a football – that’s like taking the iconic “G” off the Packers cheese head yellow helmet and putting something cursive on it instead.

Vince Lombardi would roll over in his grave, and I’m sure Paul Brown is turning somersaults in his.

This is blasphemy.

Sacrilege.

An outrage.

To heck with Obamacare, I’m calling my congressman. The Browns’ uniforms can’t change.

They’re as American as apple pie, hot dogs, or mud, in Cleveland.

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