Cleveland Fans, It Is Time To Embrace Change

Browns Helmet

New owner Jimmy Haslem spoke to the press today and seemed very genuine and honest about his family’s ownership of the Browns and his investment in the city of Cleveland. Haslem isn’t pretending that he is going to be a full-time resident of the city (they will be purchasing a home for the time they do spend in Cleveland) nor did he promise to look at moving some of his Pilot home operations away from Knoxville.

And when asked about the naming rights to the stadium and the colors and uniforms of the team, I believe he was honest as well.

He considers that part of the team marketing. And he is a business man. If you are reading between the lines, I’m pretty sure that means the winds of change will be blowing.

And I know that a good portion of the fan base would be outraged by such a move.

But I think it’s time to embrace change.

Around the site I’m pretty well regarded as the “resident old guy”, and certainly a traditionalist.

I’m also getting to the point where I could care less if the team has on an Orange jersey, a Brown jersey or a flying pig on the side of the helmet. I want to cheer for a winner. Would I love if the team went to the Super Bowl with the current look? Absolutely. But if they go to the Super Bowl with a different look, I’ll still be screaming for them to win just as hard. And probably wearing whatever new merchandise the marketing people roll out.

We’re funny that way as sports fans. We would really rather just win. Truth be told, they’ll still let you into the stadium with a ticket no matter which era jersey or logo you are sporting,

You ever notice how many Leroy Hoard jerseys you still see people wearing? Is it because they really like Leroy Hoard? Or is it because they bought a nice jersey a while back, and let’s face it they haven’t changed that much aside from some sleeve stripe variations. They still fit right in aesthetically with the rest of the fan base. From a marketing perspective, that isn’t good business.

When Lerner purchased the expansion team it was pretty important that he bring back the colors and the tradition of the uniforms. We had been robbed of that identity and fought hard to get it back. But that time has come and gone.

The team won’t make any changes to the uniform this season. They couldn’t if they wanted to. Changes have to be made with the league well in advance of the season. But don’t think that Nike won’t be hard at work coming up with a design to pitch to the new ownership group.

And the stadium? I don’t know who will front the money for the rights to name it, but it will happen. So it might be a good idea to get used to it.

  • KillerNut

    Sick new madden style unis and The “j” anyone? Looking forward to getting a new college style look

  • http://twitter.com/brian_ristau Brian J. Ristau

    The mentality that made us have the name and colors put undue stress on the franchise from the beginning. The city wanted football, it did not have to be Browns football. These are not the Browns, the Browns are dead. If they are going to be the Browns, then there is a look that goes with it. The Raiders have been pretty terrible for a while, are they changing their uniforms?

  • TSR3000

    No. 1,000 times no.

  • humboldt

    Hopefully The Elf will become more prominent component of the team kit.

  • thepaledragon

    Change that can improve the team is good, change for the sake of change is bad. I agree that the uniforms won’t matter as long as we’re winning, but the uniforms won’t help us win. What the current uniform style does have is that it is a very recognizable brand that connects the present to the winning tradition of the 50s or the 80s.

    I also think most fans believe that there should not be change in the front office as long as Holmgren and Heckert appear to have the team moving in the right direction.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    If new ownership wants to sell naming rights to the stadium, that’s fine. Unlike the issue of using “Progressive Field” when discussing the home of the Indians, there are no glory days to reflect back on in Cleveland Browns Stadium. So, if it brings in more cash to be Pilot Stadium, so be it

    However, the colors and the uniform do matter to me. Part of my love of rooting for this team is the sense of history involved, and our “look” is included in that. It means something. My family has bled orange and brown for generations. There was a reason we fought to keep that look here when the team left. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to keep it going forward.

    Of course winning is what we all want. So changes coaches, change players, change the offense or the defense…those things make a difference in wins and losses. But for some of us–many I suspect–the tradition aspect does matter. Changing the colors is in no way productive.

  • Conley

    Mr. Haslam is the NEW owner, he can do as he pleases. He paid (is going to pay) over a BILLION dollars, let him make his money back anyway possible. Just get to the playoffs and the Su… Playoffs is a start. Whomever he sells the stadium rights to, make sure they put a retractable roof on (insert corporate sponsor here) Cleveland Browns Stadium. That way Cleveland could host a Super Bowl, the Final Four, Hall & Oates farewell tour, whatever can be held indoors. Browns and their fans (me being one) need to stop living on the history of the franchise. That history died in ’95 when the Baltimore Ravens were formed. New(er) franchise, new owner, new mentality creates a new beginning. Go Browns!

  • JJ Rubino

    You know…. if they win, who cares what the uniform looks like?!? I’m a life long Browns fan, but the reality is (for my son who is 11), the current uniforms and design are only associated with losing.

  • Tron

    I’m pretty sure the citizens of Cleveland paid about 240 million for naming rights to the stadium. Lets leave that one alone.

    Changing the colors = BAD
    Changing the helmet = WORSE
    Changing jersey styles = ehh, I’m alright with it.

  • dwhit110

    I don’t think the fan base would stand for major changes to the uniform. Though I do think a majority of people would be fine with some *subtle* changes to update the look a little (in fact I believe some mockups were featured on this site in the past 12 months of what that could potentially look like and it received largely positive comments).

    As for the stadium, call it whatever’s willing to pay the most money to get their name slapped on there. Not a lot of cachet in the current Cleveland Browns Stadium name anyways.

  • Jason

    Rick – I agree completely. I get the tradition, but c’mon. It’s 2012 already. Can’t ever change the helmet, uni’s, stadium name? Maybe great if you’re the baseball Yankees (unlimited $$$$), but Rick’s making a good point here.
    Everybody and their brother has been clamoring for change for the past few years.Now we have it, and what seems like a great owner to boot, and everyone is freaking out and making ultimatums on day one about the helmet design? Seems like we have an owner who gives a damn about the team and winning. A logo or design change could invigorate the team, the city, and the fanbase.

  • theherd10

    Well, I expect some change, as do we all. However, I hope the uniform stays somewhat the same, but the helmet remains as is. The Browns have one of the most iconic uniforms in sports. I didn’t say they are aethetically pleasing, but there is no mistaking a Browns uniform, especially that helmet. I can remember when I was growing up, and I didn’t really know about the history of the league. The Green Bay Packers were a laughingstock to my friends and me. I knew they had won the first couple Super Bowls, but to a kid like me, that was ancient history. The Packers were horrible for the most part, got a glimmer of hope when Don Majkowski came from out of nowhere, then went back into suckitude until our own Mike Holmgren and some guy named Brett Favre came from out of nowhere and led them back to glory. The Packers’ history and colors survived their down time, I really would like for our look to do the same. After watching all this substandard football in these uniforms for the past decade plus, wouldn’t it be nice to see the same look kicking everbody’s arse, as if to say, “we’re back!”?

    edit to add – I understand the new owner is going to be at the free scrimmage at the stadium. I can’t make it (I live too far away), but if Mr. Haslam is going to make himself accessible, those fans in attendance can let him know that we want the current uniform to stay largely intact. Just a thought.

  • theherd10

    OK, but you don’t have to tweak the look to make it happen. With respect, I think you underestimate just how many fans really embrace our current look. You put sufficient talent INSIDE our current uniforms, they start to look better all of a sudden. The coming change can be in personnel, attitude, efficiency of organization, etc. Leave the unis (and most importantly, the helmet) alone.

  • maxfnmloans

    our new mascot?

  • MrCleaveland

    Amen.

  • MrCleaveland

    Haslem went on The Fan after his press conference and they asked him about the uniforms. He said he hasn’t given any thought to uniforms one way or the other. But he did say he is aware of how sensitive the issue is here, and that he would not make any decision lightly. I really hope he leaves them alone.

    With regard to the stadium, the current name is nice, but I don’t really care what they call it. But I don’t think anyone will ever convince me that sticking your corporate name on a stadium is worth tens of millions of dollars. A number of companies have pulled their names off stadiums, and I think one did so because it went bankrupt. Seems like a gigantic waste of money to me.

  • ehsteve14

    Wonder if he’ll try to throw the brown out of the color scheme to more accurately match his precious Tennessee Vols?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    People don’t have a say in the change therefore they have no choice but to accept this NFL orchestrated sale. I just hope it’s the dawn of a new day and like I said before not Lerner’s final mistake as an owner.
    As far as the colors and helmet go that’s about the last thing on my list I’d prefer legitimate players inside those uniforms first. The stadium name who really cares now I wish they had made a better stadium from the start so the name is rather meaningless.

  • Grif_E

    Rename the stadium, whatever, just would rather not have it named after a truck stop. I will likely never trust this guy, and he’ll probably earn that mistrust in the coming months, but just win baby. This is entirely a result of my personal biases, so not saying everyone should mistrust him, but I certainly do.

    If they change the spirit of the uniform I’ll be pissed and keep wearing my older Jerseys. If it’s something evolutionary that’s cool.

  • http://twitter.com/Dennymayo Denny

    Having come from the Steelers organization, I’m sure he has a pretty well-grounded understanding of the importance of traditions. People shouldn’t be too terribly concerned.

    I say this with 100% sincerity.

  • Dee P

    I love the current uniforms, and the tradition, however I’m extremely curious as to what the other design options would include. I’d be fine with once a year, they try a brand new look for a home game – perhaps even the exhibition games. From there the idea/designs could grow into something we’d accept. But just for the sake of curiosity, I’m willing to see what the new ideas are.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    I…um…

  • KillerNut

    Everyone is afraid of change. Everyone says that tradition is important. But what sells to my generation is flash. Id love to see something like what seattle did. Maybe not for every game but as an alternate uni. And more orange unis. Change is a good thing and unless you were alive in the 60s and further when our team was winning championships a change should be asked for. Its not like the buckeyes wher an institution is represented by the jersey it wears. The browns are the browns no matter how the jersey looks

  • KillerNut

    But the helmet stays. We have the best helmet in the league, and second to tOSU in football

  • brownstowner

    So long as he doesn’t bring out the orange uniforms…

    The man seems to be infatuated by that color if early interviews suggest anything at all.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    many stadium names have changed due to takeovers or bankruptcies.

    just here in boston the new garden started out as shawmut center, then fleet, then banknorth, now td garden. after fleet went under, the building owner auctioned the name off on ebay 30 times. stadium naming is a passe trend that makes statements of ‘im grasping for the last dollar’ and/or ‘i paid more than i could afford for this team.’

    otoh, ‘Cleveland Browns Stadium’ is less name and more generic mapping placeholder.

    quite frankly, the talk of naming rights and uniform change is a little over the top. this is what my twitter feed sounded like last night. in fairness to haslam, he doesnt seem to have brought it up… thank you again superficially-focused cleveland media corps.

  • bowtiejk

    100% sure there will be no changing the brown & orange! Could we add a gray? Sure. I don’t think the helmet will change either – we dont want it and Haslem is very aware of who his customers are. Jerseys/Unis – Update em – that’s fine. I would love to see a little brownie elf on the shoulder.

  • BomberDawg

    Strolling into town and changing these uniforms is the biggest mistake this guy could do. Rename the stadium, fine. DO NOT CHANGE THE UNIFORMS. Come on people, what would happen up in Green Bay if this was even mentioned. Seriously. Changing these uniforms would be a prime example of so many things gone wrong with America these days.

  • MrCleaveland

    Thanks for the info on the stadium naming. You could look at buying naming rights as saying in effect, “Do not invest in our company because we’re so reckless we p*** away tens of millions of dollars on worthless stuff like naming a stadium after us.”

    Also, not to rain, as it were, on our parade, but Ted Stepien was a highly successful, energetic businessman. Just sayin’.

  • BomberDawg
  • Chuckr

    I am so sick of people crying for a uniform/logo change, but the wolves are at the door in this case. Anyone who things a uniform change will end this losing is deluded!

  • CHARLES LEWIS

    I have been a Browns fan since 1970. The glory days of the current uniforms left when the Browns were stolen over to Baltimore. These uniforms have been associated with nothing but losing seasons. ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE FELLOW FANS!.. THE CITY NEEDS IT!