Sunday, March 18, 2018
Here they are, the alternate universe USFL Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns Ruin Everything

If you, like me, thought the unveiling of the Cleveland Browns new uniforms was just a formality, showing off a few minor changes and tweaks to one of the classic NFL color combinations, you’re probably shocked to be reading this right now… as you’ve barely avoided gauging your eyes out.

Yes, the Cleveland Browns, in their infinite wisdom, took the one good thing about their team, drug it into a porta-john at Bonaroo and proceeded to dunk it in the tank.

I’m calling the new uniforms “The Steamers” for no reason at all you can prove.

There are three primary versions of The Steamers. The first is the full brown, with the block three-dimensional numbers that Nike has fallen in love with over the last few seasons. Its shoulder stripes connect to nothing and, in a move that would make Jim Brown roll over in his grave if he was actually dead, the name “Cleveland” is stretched across the chest above the number.

This is a perfectly acceptable look for your high school team if you’re playing for the city championship of Topeka, Kan., but for one with the Browns’ history?” For a professional football team not playing for a Grey Cup in Saskatchewan?

Three-D numbers are fine, but Nike is pointing these in the wrong direction. You want a 3-D number facing upward, to the sky, to victory. Not downward to the ground and your own ass.

Like a champion, for instance.
Like a champion, for instance.

And why go with orange numbers with a white border on the brown uniforms? Did you notice that the center stripe of your other two uniforms also matched the number color? Why screw it up on the brown one? Did you want to drive every Asperger’s OCD case in a tri-state area nuts? Well, it worked and now I have to flip this light switch up four times and down four times while doing the alphabet backwards so I don’t spontaneously burst into flames. Thanks a lot.

The orange uniform isn’t so bad and I’m sure the Oregon State Beavers will be super excited to take the field wearing them this season.

The white uniform? I don’t hate it. It’s hard to screw up all white, but you tried with your upside down number that looks like it’s about to tip off his chest and bust him in the man parts.

The real tragedy comes with the various combinations, nine different looks if you’re keeping count. Think Alex Mack looks like a traffic cone in his all orange? Well, take a look at poor Brian Hartline standing on the far right of this photo with the white jersey and orange pants, looking like a melty creamsicle somebody dropped on the sidewalk.

That not to your taste? Take a look at No. 18 Taylor Gabrial, the poor wide receiver out of Abilene Christian dressed like the leisure suit your grandfather was buried in.

According to the Browns, this disaster originated in April, 2014, when they stumbled into the Nike office in Portland, Ore., and succumbing to the fog of marijuana smoke, began the process of designing the perfect uniform for the Menlo Park Academy Middle School football team.

The uniforms boast the first-ever use of contrasted stitching, that is impossible to see from the stands or during the live television broadcast.

“The challenge of this beautiful uniform was really unique to me,” Nike designer Craig Conahan said on the Browns’ website. “It wasn’t just a total wipe-the-slate clean, do something new. You’re starting with something iconic. Super challenging, super scary but really unique.”

Yes. Unique.

The Browns original uniforms have been pretty much unchanged since 1947. It was one of the main things the city wanted to keep when now deceased owner Art Model moved the team to Baltimore back in 1998. The city of Cleveland and the NFL forced Model to change his team’s name to the Ravens and got to keep the Browns’ name, logo and colors.

Now, with these uniforms, you wonder why they went to all the trouble.

“We believe in timeless design with everything we do,” Nike Vice President Todd Van Horne said. “We want to still look good 30 years from now and we think we’ve got a good combination here that will look good 30 years from now.”

I can’t imagine how you could have failed more completely, Todd. The Browns won’t be wearing these nightmare uniforms three years from now.

About Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a sportswriter, photographer and humorist. You can email him (and you should) at

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