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Uni Watch Rust Belt Unveiling Tour Rolls On

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Remember long-ago Uni Watch intern Vince Grzegorek (above left)? These days he’s the editor of the alt-weekly newspapers in Cleveland and Detroit, and it was great to reconnect with him and catch up on stuff when I was in Cleveland for yesterday’s Browns uniform unveiling. You can see what I thought of the uniforms in this ESPN piece, which I wrote on the fly just a few minutes after the unveiling. As always with these insta-reaction pieces, we’ll have a better sense of how these designs function when we can see them on the field, but for now it would be fair to say that I was underwhelmed.

If you haven’t seen the new unis yet, lots official hi-res photos of the new uniforms are available here, plus I took a buncha photos of the players wearing the new unis and gathered them into this slideshow (if you can’t see the slideshow, click here):

I’m surprised by how many Browns fans have tweeted at me to say that they like the new pants, which I think are easily the weakest component of the new package. Different strokes, I suppose. Also, an NFL exec told me after the unveiling that tbe “Browns” wordmark on the pants looks particularly cool when a bunch of players are lined up in a three-point stance and you see the wordmark repeated down the line. If that’s true, they should’ve have shown that at the unveiling, either with the live models or in one of the several videos they played.

The unveiling event itself, which took place at the Cleveland Convention Center and attracted an announced crowd of 3,000, was pretty overblown, what with the DJ, the silly hashtags, and so on. But I did get to pet Swagger, the Browns’ completely loveable mascot pooch, on several occasions. Highly thumpable, with a head that’s about as big as my car, he’s a whole lotta dog! At one point he slobbered all over my pant leg, but that’s part of his charm. Good boy!

The most surreal moment of the evening came when a guy from the NFL’s creative services department began chatting with me in the media room and we had this exchange:

NFL guy: Paul Lukas! You know we’re tracking what you do.

Me: Well, that’s fair, since it’s my job to track what you do.

NFL guy: Yeah, but seriously, just so you know — we’re tracking you.

Uh, okay. Like, should I sweep my house for bugs? Call Edward Snowden for advice? Something else? The guy was actually quite nice, and we ended up having a very constructive chat, but the whole Big Brother thing was odd.

That’s it for now. Been a hectic coupla days and I’m eager to head back home. Should be back with Uni Watch mascots Tucker and Caitlin by this afternoon — can’t wait.

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I had two ESPN pieces about the Bucks’ new logos — an assessment of the new designs and an exclusive behind-the-scenes story on now the team’s new look was developed. Enjoy.

• • • • •

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Scorecard cover of the year decade: The Cardinals have a sensational scorecard cover design this season (above). I love everything about it, from the strutting cardinal to the lederhosen-clad brewer, and everything in between. It’s all very reminiscent of old-school sports cartoons by the likes of Willard Mullin and his ilk. Well done!

The artist’s signature on the cover is “M. Right,” who also did excellent Cards covers in 2008, 2012, 2013, and 2014 (and, I’m assuming, other years, but those are the ones I found with some quick Googling). I’d never heard of M. Right until now. If anyone knows more or can point me toward more of his/her work, please do.

(Big thanks to Mike Chamernik for this one.)

• • • • •

Baseball News: A fan created a custom jersey to salute Giants 1B Travis Ishikawa’s walk-off homer (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Blue G.I. Joe jerseys for Bloomington Jefferson High School in Minnesota (good to hear from you, Ricko). ”¦ If you look at this video of the Columbus Clippers pulling the hidden ball trick on the Indianapolis Indians, you’ll see that the Indians’ first base coach has a matte helmet while the players’ are glossy (from Jonathan Daniel).

NFL News: Interesting cross-dressing move by motocross champ Ryan Dungey, who’s been coming out during pre-race introductions wearing the jersey of whatever city/stadium the race is in. Teams whose jerseys he’s recently worn include the Cowboys, Lions, Falcons, and Texans (good stuff from David West).

College Football News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Classic look apparently poised for a comeback at UNC (from Dan T.). ”¦ Some folks think Army’s new logo looks too much like Michigan State’s (from Kary Klismet).

Hockey News: Hilariously over-the-top article on the Canadiens’ pregame light show. Typical quotes: “It is pageantry with mise-en-scène, less bombast than pure theatrics” and “[There are] animated flames so vivid around the rink that if you closed your eyes, you could almost feel the heat” (which doesn’t make sense, because if you closed your eyes you wouldn’t see the flames any more). Beneath the hyperbole, however, is lots of good info — recommended reading.

NBA News: Here’s a look at Trail Blazers uniform history (thanks, Phil). ”¦ One observer thinks NBA teams need to stop including basketballs in their logos (from Jason Hillyer). ”¦ LeBron James once again has the NBA’s top-selling jersey. ”¦ Check out this 1960s shot of Jerry West wearing a mask. Also interesting to note that Oscar Robertson and his teammate has their socks pushed down to their ankles, and don’t overlook the zebra-striped ref (from Pat Costello).

Soccer News: After Blackpool ran out of jerseys, their goalie had to wear an autographed jersey that was supposed to be given to a sponsor. ”¦ “Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas suffered a broken nose recently and played last weekend wearing a mask (branded with initial and squad number, ‘C4’),” reports Jean Labbe. “He scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory.” ”¦ Kit supplier Macron is suing Leeds United for unspecified reasons (from Yusuke Toyoda).

Grab Bag: Good story on how Yahoo loves the color I hate (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ The North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors has named its best-dressed public safety departments of the year. ”¦ A graphic designer has used Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo as the basis for a new font called Hillvetica, which you can use to create your own slogan (thanks, Phil and Brinke). ”¦ At last weekend’s lacrosse doubleheader, Georgetown handed out free T-shirts in exchange for shirts of other colleges (from Yusuke Toyoda). ”¦ New jersey sponsor for Scottish rugby. ”¦ New uniforms for Air India. ”¦ Jeff Gordon will drive a Penn State-themed car at Pocono (from Chris Flinn). ”¦ Gatorade is marking its 50th anniversary with throwback packaging and an anniversary logo (from Paul Lee).

Comments (166)

    Paul, great analysis as always. Hope you enjoyed your short stay in Cleveland.

    From what I have heard/read, we Browns fans LOVE the “Cleveland” on the chest. I’m included in this group. Maybe it’s just a local pride thing.

    The pants are a little hokey, I’ll give you that. But the fabric they used is thankfully devoid of a ‘shiny’ finish. The “Browns” on the side is not the best feature, but it looks way better with the stripes (which match the shoulder stripes in that they’re beveled). If there were no stripes it would be truly ridiculous.

    Overall, I’m glad that the changes were minimal and not too over the top Oregon.

    Phil, I listened to your interview on 92.3 and it was a great analysis.

    Also, I don’t know if you got a chance to see the on field jersey, but an interesting feature is that the numbers are integrated into the fabric, not sewn on.

    Here’s some close ups I took in the team shop of what I believe is the on field uniform.


    I’m not sure I get what you mean. The numbers look sewn on to me. You don’t even have to look that closely to see the stitches around the number outlines.

    I’m completely with you, Paul, when it comes to Cleveland’s strip.

    The jersey looks like something out of midwestern college football with that enormous wordmark. The pants don’t really need a wordmark of any kind.

    The brown uniform is going to be unreadable by spotters. There’s a reason why Cleveland went away from orange numbers in the early 80s. There’s also a reason why the 49ers went away from the 3D numbers.

    Yeah, they may be snazzy, but business is business. Look for Cleveland to go with white numbers and orange trim on the brown jersey before too long.

    Seems like the Browns wanted to be daring (like the Seahawks) but got scared and changed they minds at the last minute. It also reminds me of the old adage, try to satisfy everyone and instead no one is pleased. Can’t think of anymore cliches to add : )

    I agree with Mwa, I think the orange numbers on Brown will be scrapped after next season (or whenever they legally can change) and I hope they also drop the silly wordmark on the pants. I give the unis a c- grade. It could have been much worse IMO.

    “Phil, I listened to your interview on 92.3 and it was a great analysis.”


    Oh, so you’re the one! (Kidding). Thanks. There was a LOT we didn’t get into (the real deep uni watching type stuff) but I thought it went well.


    “The pants are a little hokey, I’ll give you that. But the fabric they used is thankfully devoid of a ‘shiny’ finish.”

    I remain perplexed as to why this is seen as a good thing.

    What’s wrong with shiny?


    The reaction to the new unis seem to be about 50/50 here in Cleveland which surprises me. I thought they would be overwhelmingly negative.

    There just seems to be something off about every element of the Browns’ redesign. Some people hate the “Cleveland” on the jerseys (I don’t), some people hate the “Browns” on the pants (I do), but the thing the bothers me the most is the changing of the striping pattern on the sleeves. It was aside from their colours probably the most distinctive element of the Browns’ uniform program and it’s been replaced with the striping pattern that you get automatically on the Nike uniform builder. It does create consistency at least, since it now matches the striping pattern on the helmet and pants but it just seems, I don’t know, not them. Also, I don’t like the orange numbers on the brown jerseys.

    I agree…too many misses to make these uniforms a hit.
    Like – brighter orange
    Dislike – brown facemask
    Like – drop shadow numerals and (gasp!) city name on front
    Dislike – shoulder stripes that stretch across the chest
    Like – reintroducing an orange pair
    Dislike – team name down the legs and abbreviated striping
    Here’s hoping they can avoid the leotard look as much as possible.

    Don’t know whether you saw my earlier post, but you’re not going to like this promotional shot that I noticed…


    So edgy and modern! Yay!

    The Browns uniforms are embarrassing. We all know they’re from Cleveland, i don’t need it in a massive sized font on the front of the jersey.

    With ya, completely. I despite any wordmark on the front of a football jersey, particularly an NFL team.

    If their opponents don’t know who they’re playing, they have bigger problems. And if their fans need to be reminded who they’re rooting for, they really aren’t fans to begin with.

    It looks hokie, it looks amateur, and unnecessary. Especially for an NFL-team rich with history and lore.

    I hate the uniforms. They basically couldn’t be worse. This look would be embarrassing for a high school team.

    “I hate the uniforms. They basically couldn’t be worse.”

    Oh, they could.

    And they will.

    Stick around for another revision in five or six years.

    The Browns new uniforms are a joke. They’d be OK if they took all of the oversized text off. Cleveland on the jersey looks pure High School and the BROWNS down the pants is just… dumb. It’s almost like they’re using the giant wordmarks to compensate for their lack of a logo. Aside from that, they’re basically not bad. I actually like the numbers, but I’m guessing the fans are going to complain about them just like they did back in 1984 when Cleveland tried to use orange numbers. I wonder if they can get away with changing them to white before the season or if these are truly locked in. We’ll also have to see how much mixing they actually do this season… I’m thinking that by the 3rd year of these, they’re going to be wearing white/white at home and white/brown on the road with the orange & brown jerseys only showing up for the occasional Monday Night or Dallas road game.

    I’m also going to assume that a few Steelers fans have already photoshopped a CL in place of the BR on the pants, so I’m not going to bother doing that.

    Why would we need to photoshop anything? Just pointing out the Cleveland team has brown running down their legs is funny enough.

    “I actually like the numbers, but I’m guessing the fans are going to complain about them just like they did back in 1984 when Cleveland tried to use orange numbers.”

    The days of focus-grouping corporate douchebags caring what fans think have long since past.

    Plus, those orange numbers actually looked somewhat cool:


    As did the outline compromise that was actually used during the season:



    I never liked the inconsistency of the Browns’ stripes. The jersey stripes and pants stripes fixed that. I’m satisfied.
    Being a city in the rust belt is not glamorous. There’s no reason to live in a city in the rust belt except for family and community pride. “CLEVELAND” on every jersey represents that pride.
    The “BROWNS” on the pants? Meh… I don’t love it but I don’t hate it.
    I’m not sure about the orange numerals on the brown jersey but we’ll see how it looks on Sundays.
    I’m glad there’s no Alarm Clock numerals (TB), no two-color transition painted helmets (Jax), etc. There’s really no glaring “Eeeww!” that will really bother me to watch by the time I see them next fall. These uniforms really have the potential to grow on people. Underwhelming isn’t always a bad problem. There would have been a LOT more backlash if the were overwhelming.

    This is mostly my reaction too. The stripes are an upgrade: As the most dominant visual detail on any football uniforms, stripe patterns should match from helmet to jersey to pants. And I’ll accept criticism of the “Cleveland” lettering only from people who can show me proof that they’ve already condemned the Yankees as rinky-dink for putting a giant “New York” across their chests as if we didn’t know where the Yankees play.

    The “Browns” lettering on the pants, I’m not a fan, but mainly because it breaks the stripes. As far as all the other ridiculous things Nike has done to mark its NFL work like a dog peeing on a bush, this is one of the least bothersome. (The proper comparison is not the 2014 Browns, it’s the 2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)

    However, conceptually both the “Cleveland” and “Browns” letterings are a bit problematic. For a team whose identity is based on understatement and not having a logo, adding giant logos that literally say the team’s identity seems incongruous. Certainly we know that Nike doesn’t trust understatement, but it’s a shame that the team and the league didn’t have the sense or the courage to overrule the Nike artists on this one. The “Cleveland” lettering doesn’t quite negate the team’s basic no-logo identity, but adding the “Browns” lettering does so for me. It sort of turns the Browns from being the team with no logo on its helmet to being the team with its name on its pants. It’s a change from working-class stolidity to Gong Show camp.

    “For a team whose identity is based on understatement and not having a logo, adding giant logos that literally say the team’s identity seems incongruous.”

    Hear, hear!

    And I’ll accept criticism of the “Cleveland” lettering only from people who can show me proof that they’ve already condemned the Yankees as rinky-dink for putting a giant “New York” across their chests as if we didn’t know where the Yankees play.

    Wait, what?

    Baseball uniforms, which (usually) have the team or city name (and sometimes a small number) on the front are different than football uniforms which have a big number on the front are different than hockey uniforms which (usually) have the team logo on the front are different from basketball uniforms which have the team/city name and a large number on the front. “CLEVELAND” looks fine on the Indians and Cavaliers uniforms, but not on the Browns.

    I’ll repeat my comment from last night: it looks like Grover Cleveland High School got new unforms.

    I like the “CLEVELAND” wordmark. With the disappearance of sleeves, more teams should leverage the front of the jersey.
    Orange numbers on brown are fun, but wrong. In addition to being unreadable, it makes the uniform top-heavy, with white only below the waist.
    Drop shadow numbers are bad.
    The jersey stripes look strange, especially on the replicas.
    The pants are bad.

    There’s only one thing that needs to be on the front of a football jersey.

    Big numerals.

    Brown thoughts:
    1. the leaks were right;
    2. the orange stitching on the brown jerseys is a horrible feature;
    3. the upside-down pants wordmark is even dumber than the rightside-up version;
    4. glad they didn’t show all three elements with the same dominant color and hope they continue that restraint;
    5. while neither brown/brown nor orange/orange is a good option, I’m surprised there was not an example visible of white over orange;
    6. even in the rollout event there was a broad range of hosiery hijinks as there’s no standardization for even roughly how much sock is color vs. white.

    I’m surprised there was not an example visible of white over orange;

    Sure there was:

    It’s a good look — at least until the player turns sideways and you can see the idiotic wordmark on the pants.

    I really like the four looks in Paul’s photo, although the orange numbers look strange to me. I don’t really like the drop-shadows much, but didn’t know that was a past look. I saw someone said the “BROWNS” on the pants looks good when the players are all lined up, but at the line when the players are in their stance, the word will be upside down. Really stupid. The stripes on the helmet/jerseys/pants being similar (3 stripes) is a look I favor, but on the pants the damn stripes are cut off by the stupid wordmark. I don’t think the contrasting stitching on the jersey matters much since you really won’t see it from a distance anyway. I can’t tell from the photos, but is there anything different about the helmet (other than the color orange and the brown facemask)? I thought I read someone stating there was a matte finish or texture in the stripes, but I’ve not yet seen a picture showing that.

    Overall, I’d give it a “whatever” response. When your team colors are Brown and Orange, there’s only so much you can do.

    “I don’t really like the drop-shadows much, but didn’t know that was a past look.”

    The orange alternates introduced in 2002 had a slight drop shadow, but it looked a bit more natural than the ones used in the new set.



    “while neither brown/brown nor orange/orange is a good option…”

    Agreed. Wholeheartedly. Sadly, the players interviewed afterward expressed a preference for both. Ugh.

    You went to Cleveland and drank a Yuengling? Please say you atoned for this with a Great Lakes or something local!

    That’s true of most NFL jerseys though, isn’t it? Translating a jersey with sleeve caps that barely cover the shoulder pads onto a shirt with actual elbow length sleeves doesn’t really work. If they were smarter, they’d move those stripes down a little so they can just wrap them all the way around the sleeve… but then that wouldn’t be “accurate” anymore… so, yeah, we get crap like what you linked to.

    I tend to think that retail jerseys for fans should look better than what’s on the field, and not have the sleeve elements all scrunched-up.






    My memory could be a bit off, but that label shown with the anniversary logo appears to be based on one of the 1990s designs. Not sure why they would choose that particular era for a product that originated in the ’60s.

    To my knowledge, maybe someone can correct this, this is the first time a pro team has used such a large word mark on the chest. (Maybe the Dolphins, but much smaller). As all are pointing out, it’s very common in HS & College. I think now that the barrier has been broken, expect a flood of copy cats, and within 10 years, the majority of NFL teams will have such large word marks.

    The Browns uniforms are just horrendous. They look like a small town high school team or a knockoff jersey you’d find in Chinatown or a Southpole jersey that suburban hip hop kids were wearing 10-15 years ago. It’s just a complete slap in the face to real Browns fans. Let’s just throw away decades of tradition in order to bow down to the almighty Nike and take a steaming dump on our fans in the process.

    The Browns jerseys look exactly like something you would find at a TJ Maxx, Marshall, or Ross in the “Men’s Active Wear” section.

    Hideous. Just hideous.

    Maybe the NFL is tracking you for free input on design ideas.

    …doubt that’s the reason, though.

    Damn it, PL! You’ve made me into a crotchety old uni-traditionalist. I can’t look at a new football uniform now without nitpicking on it. I mean yeah, the Browns jerseys could have been worse, (read: TB and JAX), but God, that pants mark really doesn’t look good in today’s NFL. The orange stitching only serves to highlight how Nike the jersey is, and holy bugger, pray the team does not go mono.

    “Also, an NFL exec told me after the unveiling that tbe “Browns” wordmark on the pants looks particularly cool when a bunch of players are lined up in a three-point stance and you see the wordmark repeated down the line.”

    In a three-point stance, the wordmark will be upside down — regardless of which way the team is facing… “particularly cool”

    No, it won’t. In this shot: link you can see both the right and left leg placement. It’s not going to be upside down in a 3-point stance. At worst it’s sideways, like when they’re standing there. It’s only going to be upside down if a player is leaping forward, like trying to dive into the endzone or something.

    “It’s only going to be upside down if a player is leaping forward, like trying to dive into the endzone or something.”

    As a Browns fan, I thank you for saying this rather than the 16 season reality of “It’s only going to be upside down when the QB is face down after another pummelling.”

    Marc, he’s more likely to be flat on his back, we’ll all be able to see its the Browns.

    Oh, and the word mark will be right side up, too ;)

    The Cardinals cover is interesting because they went far enough back (titles) where they were forced to omit the Astros titles in 97′, 98′, and 99′. It makes more sense to have started with 2000 since Houston is no longer in the division.

    Nah, the point of the illo isn’t to document the history of the division. The point of the illo is to depict the records of the Cardinals versus the other teams competing in their division. As such, you’ve got to include all the NL Central titles the other teams actually did win, and you can’t include the Astros because they’re not competing against the Cardinals in the division.

    Though I’d have loved to have seen a cartoon astronaut at the back of the line. I’m fine with the Brewers in the NL, but the Astros in the AL still seems like a crime to me. Put Houston back in the NL, and drop AL expansion teams in Montreal and Havana already!

    “Put Houston back in the NL, and drop AL expansion teams in Montreal and Havana already!”

    Yes, please.

    I’m a major Browns traditionalist and these unis should have satisfied that part of me, but I was oddly disappointed that they didn’t do more with it. The whole thing seems half-assed to me.

    The jersey wordmark is ok and unique for the NFL, but as some have mentioned, it feels lower-rung NCAA at best. Worse, though, is the brown and white jerseys’ lack of contrast. The orange number on brown and orange number on white feel like change for change’s sake (CFCS?) and I have no doubt the fans in the stands – particularly in the affordable seats – will be hard-pressed to read them.

    The wordmark on the pants is dreadful. What’s the deal with the notch in the first stripe? Stupid.

    Coulda used stripes on the socks and the drop shadow is much too subtle. If you’re gonna use it, do it boldly. I give this refresh a solid C. In other words, they didn’t screw it up too much but they didn’t improve it too much either.

    Oh yeah… I swear to God, if I’d have heard one more time that the Browns are a “hard workin’ team for a hard workin’ town (or words to that effect),” I was gonna drive myself to the freakin’ funny farm. Enough with the blue-collar allusions already! Professional athletes are no longer the guys who had to sell liquor or used cars in the off-season to survive nor is Cleveland the manufacturing mecca of old. The reality is they’re well-to-do athletes in a town whose best blue-collar days are in the rear view mirror and the city is adapting and changing for the better.

    I swear to God, if I’d have heard one more time that the Browns are a “hard workin’ team for a hard workin’ town (or words to that effect),” I was gonna drive myself to the freakin’ funny farm.

    The exact same tropes were rolled out in Milwaukee for the Bucks unveiling. It’s part of a longstanding American tendency to fetishize the working class. That tendency has kicked into nostalgic overdrive now that we don’t actually have a production economy anymore.


    What does it take to screw up a uniform?

    What we are seeing is an abject lesson demonstrating the disconnect when two corporate marketing strategies(Swooshkateers and NFL) struggle to satisfy each others corporate goal($), resulting in satisfying neither the critics nor the consumer.

    Which by the way IS the whole point of this bidness.

    It would seem their only consolation is to bully the critics (I’m watching you watching me fall on my face again!) to imply they have their finger on the pulse of the uni-verse. I would definitely say they have their finger on something… but as recent history suggests, their efforts do not pass the smell test.

    If they really had the “big brother” thing down, they would have noticed that Uni-watchers (and the Crispy Creamers site too) constantly present and critique designs, some good, some god-awful, but their goal is simple – to make a good looking uniform for their peers to comment on.

    As a former Adman I can tell you that Uni-watchers would and are… focus group GOLD. (As are you PL)

    How can this be?

    Because these people ARE the consumers – not just fanboys and girls – you know, peeps who put their money where their mouths are. Make a great design, they will praise it and buy it on a shirt.

    See how that works?
    Not too difficult right?
    No heavy lifting involved?

    Somehow when you inject multiple marketing strategies into branding, things fall apart. Spectacularly if you are the NFL if you follow their recent forays in this arena. Which is why I watch em’. Haven’t seen comedy gold like this since the Bush administration.

    So here we are, on the bleeding edge of Uni-design living in a “Golden Age” of the Uni-verse, with world class designers available – did Todd Radom park in Roger Goodell’s parking space? Is that why he is in Narnia on this?

    We will debate the worthiness and value of sporting unis – and we will – till the Browns finally stop looking like a high school team without a logo on their helmets.

    For the simplest question a marketer should ask a consumer is this… Would you buy the $200 shirt.

    You nailed it, PL. “Fetishize” and “nostalgic overdrive” are on the money.

    And the NFL guy – “Yeah, but seriously, just so you know – we’re tracking you” — it’s all good. You’re an influential editor / journalist.

    longstanding American tendency to fetishize the working class

    Yeah, but the moment the working class asks for living wages or affordable healthcare or safe working conditions, then it’s like, “Whoa, easy with the class warfare, buddy.”

    Rigt. Because if they got too much, they’d go soft and wouldn’t be worthy of fetishizing.

    You must be so honored to have the NFL tracking you.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    So after all the hype that the Browns were going through with a complete identity overhaul, they end up with this tragically underwhelming package as their identity program? Wow, what a steaming heap of dung!

    I don’t hate the Browns pants, but here’s my question… for those clowns that wear biking shorts will they adjust the wordmark or will their pants say “ROWNS” or even “OWNS” down the side? I’m putting my money on “OWNS”.

    Overall the new Browns uniforms could have been much, much worse(think Oregon in college football). However, the pants simply look ridiculous – if the Browns wanted to emulate the high school or college look – they succeeded!!

    I hope they don’t go with the mono combinations at all. It is a much better look to pair a contrasting jersey and pants color, like white over orange. Also, I wish the pants did have the metallic shine and not the boring matte look.

    Also, glad they didn’t ruin the classic look of the helmet.

    Interesting that Ryan Dungey has the custom made jersey everywhere but Atlanta, where he clearly has a vinyl decal of some sort with a non-Falcons font 5 on the chest & shoulders (and I assume, back).

    When I read about the team name on the pants of the Browns’ new uniforms I thought it was a terrible choice. But after seeing how it turned out I actually don’t hate it. I almost even like it. However, the wordmark on the chest is awful. It’s awful on high school teams and it’s awful on an NFL team.

    Regarding the Bucks’ redesign, I like everything except the fact that they went for another “angry animal” logo. We don’t need another angry animal. We need more link.

    Could it be possible that the wordmarks on the Browns’ jerseys and pants legs are tests to see if possible sponsor logos be put I those spots eventually?

    I strongly doubt that’s the case. One of the perks of sponsoring a team’s on-field uniforms is having your logo on replicas as well. Not too many fans wear NFL team replica pants. (I can’t even think of a top-tier soccer team that has ads on their shorts, and far more people wear replica soccer shorts.)

    Where the “Cleveland” is on the jerseys would definitely make the most sense in terms of exposure and current empty space for most NFL teams. If you look at European gridiron teams that is definitely a spot that is used by sponsors. Hopefully no one at NFL HQ has ever seen pictures of those leagues though.

    I don’t think I’ll ever understand the “putting the ‘Cleveland’ wordmark on the jerseys appeals to my sense of local pride” argument. I mean, doesn’t having a team playing in one of the top leagues in the country, representing the city on an international scale, bringing tv audiences into your city etc. evoke enough local pride anyway? But even say you did feel like you needed just a bit more, how uninspired, lazy and culturally barren does it make your city seem that the best you can come up with is the city’s name written in big letters?

    “Hey Cleveland, tell me what’s so great about your city?”
    “Okay, but is there anything you’re particularly proud of about Cleveland?”
    “Any monuments, historical sites or figures, defining characteristics, art?”
    “Well that’s nice. Here’s a bouncy ball. Go play with it over there and try not to hurt yourself”

    So, let me get this straight… after a half-decade of horsing with UNC’s colors, to include navy blue, black, etc., NIKE has determined that Carolina Blue is now royalty?

    These clowns never cease to amaze. Frankly, I’m jealous that the design hacks at NIKE (and other apparel co’s) have the authority to dictate (screw with) huge institutional identities. So much power welded with so little justification.

    In this case, I wonder if the PTB at UNC told Nike that the BFBS uniforms needed to go and a classic Carolina Blue look needed to return.

    Few UNC fans liked the BFBS look, and it doesn’t appear to be helping recruiting really.

    Here is my Cleveland uniform take. Overall, I like it (by Browns standards) however there are a couple of things I don’t like.

    1. Orange numerals on the brown jersey. I feel these should be white. It looks better and also would align itself with the other two jerseys having numerals an opposite color of the “Cleveland” word mark on the chest.

    2. The new shade of orange. I just prefer the older one.

    3. I actually LIKE the new pants, but not the brown ones. The whites are best, the orange are “okay” but the brown one’s gotta go in my book.

    4. That being said, I’d ditch the uni-tard orange look. Wear the white pants with the alternate orange jerseys or simply don’t wear the orange jerseys.

    5. I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not a fan of the “Scrappy Doo” logo. Oh well.

    The alternate color stitching on the jerseys is a nice touch.

    That’s it, my two cents

    WAY DIGGING that first photo in the Trail Blazers’ slideshow! Two of the 1970 expansion teams facing off; rare to see pictures of the NBA’s have-nots of that vintage. How cool are those away Buffalo Braves’ uniforms?

    Paul – Looks like you had one of the best burgers in Cleveland at Johnny’s Little Bar. I hope you enjoyed it and your (short) stay in town! Hope we can get a meetup on your next trip to the 216. On a side note, Cleveland would be a fantastic place for a Beefsteak if they are looking at more cities for the future!

    They use the steak trimmings from their fine dining restaurant next door for the burgers. Both the chips and the fries are delicious. Glad you liked it. My buddies and I are there once a week for lunch.

    As much as I hate the cardinals, I do like the program cover. Unfortunately, it is incorrect as the Astros actually won the Central in 2001 based on the tie breaker. link

    They still technically tied with the same number of wins. The tie-breaker merely gave them the division title for playoff purposes.

    According to the official stance of Major League Baseball, the 2001 NL Central Division Title belongs solely to the Houston Astros. As the relevant part of link explains:

    “St. Louis finished tied with Houston in 2001, but the Astros won the division based on head-to-head record while the Cardinals won the wild-card berth. Still, St. Louis tried to claim it was division co-champion, a position the commissioner’s office rejected.”

    Paul, a little karma gift for you: The Yahoo association with purple started when a founder got some purple paint on the cheap.

    This is not unknown in the sports world. The Saskatchewan Roughriders changed their color identity in 1948 after focus groups wearing out their old red and black uniforms.

    The team was in bad need of new uniforms, and when executive member Jack Fyffe found a set of green and white jerseys at a surplus store in Chicago, for pure economic reasons, the legacy of the “Green and White” was born.


    (“Focus groups” is supposed to be strikethru. Hand to god, I thought they had this here!)

    My thoughts on the Browns new uniforms, coming from a Steelers fan:

    Their uniforms were already likable in my book, but I was expecting something completely different–like Denver or Atlanta different–than what came out. Like the shoulder stripes. I didn’t expect any at all. I do think the all-brown look–already one of the better monochrome looks in the NFL–got a boost by having some graphics on the pants to help break the monotony.

    With that said, the Browns uniforms somehow got worse. The orange numbers aren’t going to be readable on the brown jerseys, and I see the NFL forcing a change to white numbers at some point. The white jerseys aren’t as bad, but I would’ve stuck with brown. There’s a reason why the Broncos have stuck with blue numbers on their white jerseys despite having orange jerseys for much of their history.

    Strangely enough, it’s their orange alternates that look the best out of this, and it’s nice that they brought back the orange pants. Still, though, the fact that I have to see this twice a year is going to make the Bengals uniforms look like our uniforms in comparison. I’m sorry, but the Browns should’ve stuck with what they had, maybe bring back orange pants and add striping to the brown pants.

    As an aside, I like St. Louis’s scorecard, although does it need to remind Buccos fans that we’re starting to come out of the abyss?

    The NFL guy “tracking” you is just an a**hole. He is saying that to make himself feel better or more important. Probably just a case of microphallus.

    That’s the last time you’ll see these Cleveland players all wearing the same shoes too!

    Hmmm…Initial reaction was “DUMBPANTS!! DUMBWORDMARKS!!” But now that I’ve let the idea sit for a good 12+ hours, I’m starting to see some of the upside in these unis. While the above will probably always bug me, I love that they brought back the orange pants. When your colors are orange and brown, I think it’s also beneficial to have the mix-and-match uni elements. The orange stitching on the brown jersey aside, I do dig the ‘throwback’ number drop shadow. So…I’m hoping I warm up to this set like I gradually warmed up to the current Seattle set.

    It’s a little blurry, but if you look in the background you can see an outfield ad for Allegheny Health Network planked by the link Health insurance provider Highmark, which owns the Allegheny Health Network, had a similar ad for themselves in gold with black pinstripes. I wonder if the Bucs are hinting at something with one of their sponsors, of if its a coincidence.

    I like the Cleveland uniforms. Big blocks of color without much of the crappy colored side panels, weird shaped panels, multicolored piping, etc. Every team should take note of this.

    As for the Cleveland word mark? Not sure why it’s fine on uniforms in the other big three but not in football. Worst argument I’ve heard in a long time. The Yankees need to look at the opposing teams uniforms to know who they’re playing but the Seahawks automatically know?

    Anyway, they got the big things right on these uniforms and I think the details work well too. The wordmark on the pants? Doesn’t add or take away anything.

    I don’t mind the wordmark on the jersey all that much. My main objection with it is that it has the effect of moving the front numbers to a lower spot on the jersey than I’m accustomed to them being. If they shrank the wordmark slightly or got rid of the huge v-neck “Nikelace” collar treatment, there would probably be room to move everything up a couple of inches to wear it belongs.

    “We’re tracking you!”

    PL should have said “Good! We have lots of good critical debate on the website and many good ideas from many smart professional designers all the way down to uniform hobbyists.”

    Like someone else mentioned here, it’s a great focus group, teams should be noticing and yes, “tracking” Paul and his website.

    M. Right is Mike Right, a native of St. Louis and professional illustrator.

    You can see a cool news feature about him and his scorecards here: link

    He has an online portfolio (sadly lacking in personal info) here: link

    I particularly love the illo of a lobster chef wearing an apron with a lobster on it (link) – not quite infinite regression territory, but I do like it when animal mascots are used to promote themselves as food. Here in NC we have tons of ribs/BBQ joints with smiling pigs as mascots.

    My first reaction to the Browns unis was “That’s ten pounds of nope in a five-pound bag”. I haven’t moved much from that since.

    The orange numerals on the brown jersey are the worst part, of course. They might look fine in HD close-ups on TV, but did they really do any testing on how real-life spotters, or even the fans in the stands, would be able to make them out? As for the wordmarks, I just think they’re excessive.

    I’m actually okay with the stripes, and I’m pretty indifferent to the rest of the details.

    Oh how I hate the “people won’t be able to read the numbers” complaint. They’re almost traffic cone orange. How can anyone not see them? I’ll admit that a solid outline would be better than the shadow, but still. They’re quite clearly visible. No one’s had any problems with the Chicago Bulls using black numbers on red jerseys for the past 20+ years, but brightfuckingorange on top of dark brown is hard to read? Give me a break.


    Orange numbers on brown have a white drop shadow too to help it stand out. Now a white drop shadow is outside of reality as it should be a darker drop shadow, but outside of that the white drop shadow works very well. All around I think they got these right.

    I was really disappointed in these uniforms. I was really hoping to see them use universal stripes (like the Florida Gators), and the wordmarks on the pants are not pleasing.

    But an interesting aspect of the uniform that I surprisingly like is that each one is sewn together with contrast stitching, supposedly as a tribute to Cleveland’s working class. From my knowledge, they will be the first team in the NFL to ever do this.

    The Browns have fallen victim to the same problem as a lot of the Nike redesigns in recent years: could have been great but flew too close to the sun.

    Its over bumper sticker-ed. The contrast stitching, the notch in the pants stripe, the oversize wordmarks, all smacks of a design team trying to compensate for the lack of helmet logo. Eliminate the wordmarks and the contrast stiches and switch the home numbers to white and you might well have a very very good uniform.

    Its the same type of flaw in the Bucs, Jaguars, and Seahawks. Drop the sillier, “look at me” elements like the oversize helmet logo, digital clock numbers, two tone helmet and sublimated number patterns and you’ve got serious classics.

    Its telling that the best redesigns Nike has done, Minnesota and Miami, didn’t try to overreach.

    Thank you! Its seems like it isn’t enough for people to enjoy the uniforms. They need everybody to know that they made them.

    Nike’s decision to include contrast stitching on the jerseys is perplexing in light of the company’s merchandise-driven approach to uniform design. Nike sells replica NFL team jerseys with the implicit (and at times explicit) message being that the fans who were them will look “just like” their favorite players on the field.

    The problem is that the construction of Nike’s most commonly available replica jersey line, the value-priced still ridiculously overpriced link, differs significantly from the actual on-field jersey. The authentic jersey has several more panels, which is where link as an aesthetic element.

    Comparatively, the stitching pattern on the “Game” jersey link. Nike didn’t even make a half-hearted attempt to replicate the panels. This shatters the illusion that the fans are “wearing what the players wear.”

    None of this particularly matters to Uni Watch’s main focus of what the actual players wear, of course. But it surprises me nonetheless that replicating the product for consumers didn’t play a bigger role in Nike’s design decisions.

    Most of readers of this site dislike the new Browns uniforms. I happen to like them except the stripes on the britches. But in all honesty, the team, NFL or Nike does not really care what we think or say. The team wanted a new look. All parties came up with this design and they are happy with it or they would not have shown it to the public. We can give our opinion, but at the end of the day its their money.

    Count me among the crotchety, cranky, curmudgeonly mossbacks who thought the classic Browns uniform (white over white, white socks, orange helmet, no logo) was among, if not the best, look in the NFL. I would put the Giants’ and 49ers’ new/old retro looks in that category also.

    Unfortunately, Jedi54 is correct. They can do what they want.

    It’s the NFL, after all, and it’s all about the marketing/merchandising machine.

    “But in all honesty, the team, NFL or Nike does not really care what we think or say.”

    Your statement would seem to have been proven false by what the NFL creative services guy said to Paul last night.

    Okay they are tracking…we have no idea what that means, unless they are using the information gathered here and making adjustments. If they do that is fine, and if they don’t that is fine as well. I guess what I am trying to say is this: The owners of the Browns are the only ones with a definite financial stake in what they unveiled. If folk like them, they will buy the shirts, if they don’t they won’t.

    “The owners of the Browns are the only ones with a definite financial stake in what they unveiled.”

    I would argue that Nike and the rest of the NFL other than Dallas (the one team that isn’t part of the merchandise revenue sharing agreement) also have a financial stake in it, but I understand your point. By the same token, the Browns ownership – and by extension the rest of the NFL – do care about what the public thinks because the public is who will buy the product.

    Now, obviously, they care more about what Browns fans think than just the average casual NFL fan. But to the extent there’s a perception that Paul Lukas and his website can influence public opinion in a way that trickles down to the core fan base, I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the the Browns and NFL front offices are paying attention. I’m sure they want to promote the favorable responses and curb the dissent, but they’re smart enough to know they won’t please everybody.

    Was the uniform redesign worth the financial investment? How the Browns do on the field will have a lot more to do with that answer than anything we say here, of course. But isn’t the whole point of the Uni Watch comments section that it does provide a place for you and me to offer our opinions? Regardless of whether the Browns care what we say, I think having that outlet is a cool thing.

    But in all honesty, the team, NFL or Nike does not really care what we think or say. …We can give our opinion, but at the end of the day its their money.

    Silly straw man argument. Nobody here ever claimed that NFL and/or Nike cared what we think. We engage in these discussions because *we* care what we think. And that’s a perfectly fine reason.

    I knew that I had seen team name on the leg, somewhere before, it happens to be my alma mater, Northern Michigan U. Sorry it’s an ad, but only place I could find a decent pic.


    Wizards just announced a new logo. And lets just say it’s already been ruined by what Deadspin compares it to….


    Deadspin’s perverted stupidity aside… that’s not too bad really. I’m not sure what it has to do with “Wizards” but it certainly works for “Washington DC Basketball Team”.

    Yes I agree, its not facially a bad logo for a basketball team based in DC. But the absolute lack of anything to do with Wizards/Magical themes is a problem I think. Just change the name already if it means that little to the “brand” of the team. And that’s been evidence since they switched to the R/W/B color scheme.

    I saw the phallic impaling depicted in the logo as soon as I saw it, didn’t need any help from Deadspin.

    Really dislike the whole Browns look, but especially the typeface for the word mark, looks like a Windows default font – just awful.

    So for these numbers, what is the style called? Up shadow? Drop numeral?

    Don’t worry about the NFL tracking you Paul, they’ll never receive the tapes.

    Clearly, the best pieces of attire during the Browns’ uni reveal were the hooded orange capes. Added benefit was that they hid the unis underneath.

    I like the Browns uniforms. They remind me of the Seahawks, in the sense that I think they’re going to look much better on the field then they do on a stage or mannequin.

    One interesting thing about the Brown’s uniform unveiling (since I was predicting a bad case of Wrong Sock Syndrome) was that all of the combinations shown on stage included sock tops that actually contrasted with the pants. This was a good thing.

    However, one of those promo shots bodes ill for the future…


    Very bad.

    If Gatorade really wants to go with throwback packaging they have to go with the glass bottle!

    “Jeff Gordon will drive a Penn State-themed car at Pocono”

    If it’s not going to be a sponsor-less white car with a dark royal blue center stripe, will he at least wear a PSU football-inspired helmet?

    I believe every time Auburn U has freshman and transfer orientation, they give out Auburn shirts in exchange for shirts from other schools. Great way to make sure you don’t see too many students wearing shirts from other schools around campus! :P

    It was one of my biggest pet peeves when I was in school at Georgia Tech when I saw people wearing Clemson or Auburn shirts around.

    you went all the way out to Cleveland for THAT??? Least you got a good burger out of it

    If any Uni Watchers are wearing your Jackie-style T-Shirt Club tees today, please tweet photos and use the hashtag #UWjackie

    Wearing it as an undershirt, alas. Maybe once I’m able to clock off at the office …

    I’m not a Browns fan but I really like their new unis. Of course, I’m a big fan of city names on the front Of jerseys. I’m a big fan of the mono color look but like the brown over orange as well. Love the orange numbers and the wordmark down the leg isn’t bad at all.

    About the “Cleveland” on the front. In the same sense, you could say that everyone knows the hockey Rangers play in New York and the Kings in Los Angeles but that doesn’t stop them from putting city names on the front of their jerseys. Hell, even the Stars (for a time) and Mavericks have Dallas on the front of their jerseys. It’s a common occurrence in MLB. You all act like this has never been done in the entire history of professional sports. It

    I’ll break with conventional wisdom here and say that the “BROWNS” wordmark on the pants is actually kind of cool, if for no other reason than it’s never been done before and also because the helmets are plain, there is some room to add extra design elements elsewhere to the uniforms without them looking cluttered.

    I would have made the CLEVELAND a little smaller, though.

    Very surprised (and distressed) by how many people are OK with the pants. I thought that would be the one thing we could all agree on. Live and learn!

    Oh, don’t worry. I hate them.

    But I will say that they’re probably least offensive on the white pants, simply because the plain brown lettering isn’t so hard on the eyes.

    The letters on the brown pants should have been white, and as for the orange pants…I really don’t know; maybe brown letters with a white outline. OH, but we don’t do outlines anymore, because the goal is to make everything as stark and visually painful as we possibly can.

    Maybe that’s the biggest problem with this whole new uni set. Everything is so harsh and glaring, especially on the brown jerseys, where there is really nothing to soften the transition between brown fabric and loud orange numerals. And we see that very same problem on two of the three pairs of pants, with that “BROWNS” mark.

    Only good thing about “Browns” on the leg is that it might dissuade the bike-shorts look. Although I suppose it would be funny if some dude had it shortened to “Bro”.

    Or we’ll have different variations of Browns, Brow, and Bro all over the field. That’ll look fantastic.

    I think the lettering works on the pants because it is varsity style lettering. Once you get a specialized Browns font there it will be a complete mess.

    These uniforms work because of their simplicity. They didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with any of the elements or fix things that weren’t broken.

    Got a note from Kyle Kalkwarf and I thought it would be more appropriate in the comments:

    “For those concerned about West Point “stealing” Michigan St.’s logo, here is a link that debuted in 1898. Athena’s crest is all over campus including buildings and every cadet uniform, where it has been for many, many decades (example of link worn on class and more formal uniforms). My understand is that Michigan St. link.”

    I guess I’ll add my 2 pennies to the Browns new look.

    I love the new brown facemask. Unless you have gray in your team colors you should NOT be wearing gray facemasks. The texture in the helmet stripes will bug me but not as much as the Seahawks does.
    I couldn’t tell from the pictures last night. The helmet didn’t look matte which is also a huge relief since I HATE matte helmets. But maybe I missed that in the reveal.
    Not a fan of the alternate colored stitching on the uniforms. But I think from a distance or on TV it won’t be too noticeable.
    The large “Cleveland” looks horrible. I have always hated logos and wordmarks on the front of the uniforms but this is total high school and college stuff. Leave it to the Sooners.
    My OCD is already driving me crazy on the brown uniforms and pants. The striping is backwards and should be white-orange-white not orange-white-orange.
    The numbers on the white uniforms should be brown and not orange. Although that conflicts with my previous statement I let it slide because of the brown pants. I hate lighter colored numbers with dark colored pants as much as I hate all white.
    Are those uniform stripes “sleeve stripes” or “UCLA stripes”? The positioning is weird. Even for today’s modern cuts of uniforms. Seems to be in a weird middle ground.
    I don’t hate the orange numbers on the brown uniforms. It doesn’t look bad. I like the addition of the drop shadows back to the uniforms again although the way it was done looks weird. Upshadowing?
    Overall though despite all the issues I have with the new look it isn’t the worst thing ever. It might be a slight step down from what they were wearing but it’s no Bucs, Falcons, or Cardinals disaster either. On the good or stupid meter I’d say it’s a “push” overall.
    Oh and the Browns on the pants? Yeah, not letting that gem slide. That is even worse than the extra large Cleveland on the chest. It’s horrible and better not be the next new trend.

    Bottom line on the Browns uniforms, upgrade, neutral, or downgrade? Answer: downgrade.

    It’s decidedly a downgrade. I hesitate slightly to say “major downgrade,” mainly because it isn’t nearly as bad as the worst of the NFL re-designs that we’ve lately.

    But part of evaluating a uniform change is about comparing the aesthetic value of the new set to the one being replaced. Seattle and Jacksonville, for example, look quite terrible, but in both cases, their previous uniforms had been rather bad, as well, so the degree of downgrade wasn’t huge.

    Minnesota’s new look is fairly unspectacular, but since its previous uniforms were a bit awkward and strange, one might argue that the Vikings got a slight upgrade.

    Tampa Bay was perhaps the most disappointing of Nike’s recent blunders. The Bucs went from having one of the more tasteful “modern” uniforms in the NFL to sporting the most hideous look of all. Huge downgrade there.

    While the Browns new unis may not be nearly so awful in the grand scheme of recent overhauls, they gave up what had been (at least in its core pieces — not considering the stripeless brown pants and mono-brown) one of the truly classic uniforms in professional sports.

    So if this is to be described as a “major downgrade,” that’s why.

    In regards to the best dressed police departments. I don’t even bother to look anymore. Red the Tailor usually gets most of the top nods. They are good, but very pricey.

    Die-hard Browns fan – and I don’t hate them. They’re starting to grow on me. I just want them to win.

    There were a few rumors floating around about the new unis including an option with gray. Was happy to see that this was not part of the uni set.

    I also expected a more dramatic change to the helmet – like a tapered stripe – or a more involved pattern within the stripe than what they showed last night, but the helmets look great.

    All-in-all, if I’ve stuck with this team for a lifetime without a championship – a few fashion risks aren’t going to drive me away.

    Go Browns!

    Browns uniforms look like fubu trash all the way but I guess that audience is the market they wish to target anyway.

    I will get my browns crap from Mitchell & ness I guess


    Browns Uni’s are HORRIBLE. Ugly shades of brown and orange make it look like someone threw up a taco and thought that might make a good uniform.

    I’ll take them going back to Jim Brown/Leroy Kelly unis, with numbers on the helmet


    Apart from the wordmark on the pants — the stupidest thing this side of the Jags’ two-tone helmet — I think the Browns’ uniforms are fine. It’s a football uniform, not a clown suit, and in the Nike age that’s saying something.

    The chest wordmark doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should; I think that any mono-color jersey-pants combo (brown-brown, orange-orange) is much more bush league, and that goes for any NFL team. The front numerals are not rendered too small or too low because of it, so I’m OK with it for now.

    If I could tweak the jerseys a bit, I’d either make the numerals on the brown jerseys white with orange drop-shadow, or make the shadows a bit more prominent and use block-shadow instead. Or both.

    I know it’s late and no one’s going to read this, but….

    How many recent significant NFL uniform changes have been upgrades? How many teams are wearing a better uniform now than they were wearing in 1995?

    The Bills’ change in 2011 is probably the most recent significant upgrade. The Patriots in 2000, the Jets in ’98 and the Buccaneers in ’97 were significant upgrades. I can’t think of any others. Everyone else has either downgraded or gone sideways. And no one else is wearing a better uniform now than it was 20 years ago.

    I thought of them; they downgraded and then slightly upgraded. The current uniform (like so many others) would be great with non-ridiculous numerals. Still a net downgrade from 1995.

    The Browns came oh so close to putting out a nice looking uni. Remove the oversized “Cleveland” from the jersey and “Browns” from the pants and it’s a sharp looking uniform. I swear I think teams are just purposely making these things ugly for ugly’s sake!

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