Owner Jimmy Haslam recently informed the NFL that the Browns are exploring possible changes to their iconic uniforms. It is a league procedure to make the notification, and part of that means the earliest a change can occur is 2014.
Paul Lukas, who writes a column for ESPN.com on uniform designs called Uni Watch and is the foremost follower of uniform changes, said much of the feedback he has received from Browns fans has been resistant to a change.
As Lukas said, much of that derives from the team keeping its colors and history in Cleveland after the late Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore after the 1995 season.
"Let's remember, in terms of conservatism and sticking with what one has, this is a team that pretends it is another franchise," Lukas said. "This team, and the league, has created this fiction, this fantasy, that this team is still the old team that moved away. That's the fairy tale that gets told. When they assume that role, they're stuck with that uniform."
There's also a reason the change won't be taking place during the 2013 season, as some might have expected. Brian McCarthy, vice president of corporate communications for the NFL, said a lot of care goes into the design process. In a sense, the goal is to get it right rather than get it right now.
"[Those making the new design] will analyze it from a number of different perspectives," McCarthy said. "They'll look at it from the perspective of the fans and how it looks from every seat in the stadium, they'll show what it looks like on TV and do TV testing. ... It's a lengthy process. That's where the time lapse is."
There are things the Browns can do to retain tradition while ushering in a new look. Lukas suggests a more prominent role for Brownie the Elf on the new uniforms (the helmet would have been the best placement for this, but the Elf could be placed on the shoulder or hip) or a change in stripes or pant color. One of the biggest requests he receives from Browns fans, he said, is the return of the orange pants, made famous in large part thanks to Brian Sipe and the Kardiac Kids.
Another option is using a less traditional font with the jersey numbers, much like what the Pittsburgh Steelers did in the late '90s.
Browns likely to stay conservative with any uniform changes in future
Akron Beacon Journal | Jan 28