Former Browns’ Quarterback, Jason Campbell
(Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com)
The Cleveland Browns play in the American Football Conference (AFC) of the National Football League (NFL). Playing at the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, their headquarters and training facilities are in Berea, Ohio. They play in brown, orange and white.
The history of the Cleveland Browns starts in 1945 when businessman Arthur B. McBride and renowned football coach Paul Brown founded the team as a charter member of the All-American Football Conference (AAFC). For the four seasons that the AAFC existed the Cleveland Browns dominated it winning a total of 47 games, losing just four with three ties, winning the championship on each occasion. The team joined the NFL in 1950 and is now part of its American Football Conference North (AFC North). Unfortunately for the Cleveland Browns, they have never been able to recapture their early success.
- Full Name: The Cleveland Browns
- Conference: American Football Conference
- Division: North
- Location: Cleveland, Ohio
- Stadium Name: FirstEnergy Stadium
- Year Established: 1946
- Owner: Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam
- Head Coach: Hue Jackson
- Manager: Sashi Brown
- Nickname: The Brownies
- Mascot: Champs, Swagger
- Team Colours: Brown, orange, and white
Jerry Sharp / Shutterstock.com
The franchise of the Cleveland Browns was founded by a businessman called Arthur B. McBride and renowned American football coach Paul Brown in 1945. They were original members of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and dominated the four seasons that was in existence, winning all four-championship seasons with an amazing record of 47-4-3. When the AAFC eventually folded in 1949, the Cleveland Browns, along with the then Baltimore Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, moved to the National Football League (NFL). The Cleveland Browns success continued in their first NFL season winning a championship, a feat that they repeated in 1954, 1955 and in 1964.
Unfortunately, after this date, the Cleveland Brown’s form tailed off considerably. Between 1965 and 1995 the team made the playoffs 14 times but did not win another championship or make a Super Bowl appearance. During much of this time they were known as the ‘Kardiac Kids’ thanks to the fact that many of their games would only be decided in the final moments.
1995 was a dramatic year for the Cleveland Browns. Owner of the Browns, Art Modell, who had owned the franchise since 1961 decided that he wanted to move the team 400-miles away to Baltimore, Maryland. Both fans and the city of Cleveland were outraged and following threats of legal action, a compromise was eventually reached the following year. Modell created his Baltimore Ravens team as a brand new franchise whilst being allowed to keep the contracts of all the current personnel signed to the Browns. However, everything else, including the team name, training facilities and logos, etc. were to be kept in trust. The ‘old’ Cleveland Browns were suspended by the NFL and a new team was established in 1998 as an expansion team and they resumed their place in the NFL in 1999.
Sadly, the ‘new’ Cleveland Browns carried on the poor form of the ‘old’ Cleveland Browns and since 1999 have only had two winning seasons in 2002 and 2007 and have only had one playoff appearance which they subsequently lost.
Super Bowl Appearances
The current incarnation of the Cleveland Browns have never made an appearance at the Super Bowl, a fact they share with three other current NFL franchises, the Detroit Lions, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans.
However, the original incarnation of the Cleveland Browns which was to become the Baltimore Ravens have appeared at the Super Bowl and have won it on two occasions. At Super Bowl XXXV, the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34 – 7 and at Super Bowl XLVII, they beat the San Francisco 49ers by 34 – 31.
FirstEnergy Stadium (Tupungato / Shutterstock.com)
The FirstEnergy Stadium is where the Cleveland Brown have played since 1999. The stadium sits on the site of the Cleveland Brown’s original stadium the Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which is where they played for the first 49 years of their history. The FirstEnergy stadium was built following the agreement that was made between the city of Cleveland and the Browns’ owner Art Modell who relocated to Baltimore to form the Baltimore Ravens. As part of the deal that saw Modell take all the Brown’s personnel under contract, the city of Cleveland demolished the Cleveland Municipal Stadium to build the new and state of the art FirstEnergy Stadium.
The stadium is a concrete and grass structure and the playing surface is a Kentucky Bluegrass field with an under-soil heating system that prevents the field from ever freezing. Originally, the city chose not to sell the naming rights of the stadium, which was an unusual move for an NFL franchise. However, since Jimmy Haslam has owned the Browns, the naming rights have been sold and in 2013 they were sold to the Akron based FirstEnergy. Despite the Brown’s lack of success in recent years the stadium is one of the most atmospheric in the NFL and the eastern section of the stadium is the home of the Dawg Pound, the Cleveland Brown’s most passionate fans.
As well as being the home of the Cleveland Browns, it has played host to a plethora of high school and college football games, as well as a number of soccer games including the USA v Venezuela in 2006 as part of their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Dante Lavelli (1946 – 1956)
It’s testament to how good Dante Lavelli was as a wide receiver that he was known as ‘glue fingers’. The first ‘clutch’ wide receiver in the NFL, he had a fantastic understanding with the Browns’ quarterback Otto Graham. It was no mistake that the Cleveland Brown’s most successful period coincided with Lavelli being at the top of his game.
Otto Graham (1946 – 1955)
So consistent was quarterback Otto Graham, he was nicknamed ‘Automatic’. The father of the modern passing game, his understanding with Dante Lavelli was legendary and played for the Browns during their most successful ever period.
Bernie Kosar (1885 – 1993)
He may never have appeared at the SuperBowl but quarterback Bernie Kosar is rightly considered one of the greats of American football. Kosar and his Browns team created a real buzz in the late 80s and early 90s and it is many fans favourite period of the Brown’s history.
Jim Brown (1957 – 1965)
Considered on of the finest players ever to play the game, running back Jim Brown is hailed by many Browns fans as the best player ever to play for them. The perfect combination of strength, technique, speed and balance he finished his career with an amazing 5.2 yards per carry average.
Did You Know?
- Unlike any other team in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns do not have a helmet logo
- The Cleveland Browns are one of only four current NFL teams who have never played in a Super Bowl. The others are the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans.
- The original Cleveland Browns Team that became the Baltimore Ravens have appeared at and won a Super Bowl, winning Super Bowl XXXV in 2000 against the New York Giants and winning Super Bowl XLVII in 2012 against the San Francisco 49ers.
- Thanks to a YouTube video by the comedian, Mike Polk, following a loss to Houston Texans on November 7, 2011, the FirstEnergy Stadium has been nicknamed the Factory of Sadness
- Famous fans of the Cleveland Browns include Elvis Presley, baseball legend Hank Aaron, politician Condoleeza Rice and WWE wrestler and commentator Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.