Guest Columnists: Orange is the new Browns

Jimmy Miller is the sports editor of The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Jimmy Miller and Katie Nix

When my friends and I get together, sports seem to become a driving topic of conversation, particularly Cleveland sports. At times, we are prone to bashing our own Cleveland teams. We love them, but they like to make it difficult to love them, and satire seems to be a great release.

With the Cavaliers finally clicking like a championship-caliber team, and the growing promise of a new Indians season, the Cleveland Browns have been the primary target of our recent shaming. 

Earlier this week, this shaming seemed to boil over. Tuesday brought the most deflating news in the NFL since the Patriots allegedly tampered with footballs in the AFC Championship game, as the Browns released an updated (sort of?) logo for the upcoming 2015-16 season. 

The helmet’s primary orange had been brightened, and the facemask got a new shade of brown. The Dawg Pound face often associated with Browns merchandise also got a makeover, as the organization seemed to turn the intimidating dog into a miffed puppy.

One of my friends I mentioned before put it best: It looked as if somebody got in Photoshop the night before and tossed it together.

Needless to say, the Internet took advantage of the Browns’ logo flop. Many memes, jokes and insults went directly to the Browns’ Facebook and Twitter pages, making their explanation that “the orange is brighter and richer and matches the passion of our fans and city” seem meek.

At this point, I’m starting to think that if the Browns really wanted to capture the passion of our fan base, the new color scheme would have been a dark crimson for all the angry comments the organization has surely sifted through over the last two days.  

No, I would not go as far as to say this is the most disappointing thing the Browns have ever done. Choking away countless games in the fourth quarter, cycling through quarterbacks like recyclables and rolling the dice on a variety of different coaches every two years are issues that all top this logo ordeal. But can you blame the Browns fans, myself included, for being remarkably disappointed? The organization manufactured a week of hype leading up to the release, only to display a logo that was pretty much the same exact thing they always had, just an added touch of brown and a more vibrant orange.

I am a Browns fan for life. They could have changed their logo to a dragon with a sombrero on its head on Tuesday, and I’d still be rooting for them on Sundays. But I do have to consider how many more national embarrassments I can bear to listen to that shroud this organization. We all know the team has been defunct since its less-than-triumphant return to the NFL in 1999. Why does it seem like every few weeks, the team I want to win so badly ends up feeding fuel to the fire? 

My friends and I are going to continue rooting for — and screaming at — our team. It’s a bittersweet relationship with the Browns that heightens with every win, every loss and every public relations disaster.

I’m not sure the new orange fully captures that passion. I’m starting to think a deep blue might fit us best.

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So I’m not a big professional football fan – I’d rather sit down and watch two college teams duke it out any day of the week, and even still if you asked me to pick my favorite professional team, I definitely wouldn’t say the Cleveland Browns.

However, that didn’t dampen my interest when the infamously mediocre team, who more often gets my sympathy than praise, announced they would be revealing a new logo.

“Finally!” I thought. “Maybe with a fresh new look, the team would be able to garner a bit of respect in the NFL.” 

I always thought the helmet, which had been the logo for as long as I could remember, was boring, plain and kind of underwhelming, much like the team itself. Yes, we get it. You play football and football players wear helmets. Super creative. 

When Tuesday came, I kept checking Twitter, waiting to see the first pictures of the new logo, and when I finally found it posted on the Record-Courier’s website, I was stunned.

At first, I couldn’t even tell the difference between the old and the new. It seemed like one of those “find the differences” puzzles, and it was way too difficult, even for a 21-year-old.

While the “Dawg Pound” logo does look different, the changes to the team’s logo featured only a simple color change. The bright orange was now a red-orange and the facemask was now brown instead of white.

Like Johnny Manziel, this logo change was all hype and not a whole lot of follow through.

The more I looked at the logo, the more irritated I became. The newer, redder orange that the franchise was flaunting looked really familiar to me, almost like I had seen it on someone else’s logo. 

Because it’s basically the orange used in the Cincinnati Bengals logo.

How uncreative is the design team for the Cleveland Browns? There was nothing edgy or new about the old logo, and there definitely isn’t with the new one. I’m curious as to how much money was spent on the “redesign” and if it was worth all the backlash the team is now receiving. Then again, that level of negativity directed toward the team isn’t new to the Browns.

I’m nervous to see what the new team uniforms are going to look like when they’re unveiled on April 14. Cleveland’s team president Alex Scheiner said the uniforms would go a step further than the new logo, but I find myself doubting that due to the lack of originality involved with this week’s announcement. 

Maybe next year, the Indians will sport navy blue, white and scarlet instead of just plain old red. Just par for the course.