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Why is the team name of Cleveland the Browns?

The Cleveland Browns were founded in 1944 and were one of the most dominant franchises in the 1950s. They won four NFL championships (1950, 1953, 1954, and 1964) in 15 years. Since 1964, there has been a drought in Cleveland and no major sports team from the city has won any championships.

The franchise has played 60 seasons in the NFL, but are yet to make a Super Bowl appearance. Although the Browns haven't seen a lot of success recently, they appear to have a loyal fanbase. But have you ever wondered why Cleveland's football team is known as the Browns?


Two theories tell us how the Cleveland team got its name. Although the first one is more popular and has been supported by the franchise, many believe the second one to be true.

Theory 1: The Cleveland Browns are named after their first head coach

VIDEO: How The Cleveland Browns Got Their Name
Twisted History
Cleveland's first head coach Paul Brown
Cleveland's first head coach Paul Brown

In 1944, Arthur B. "Mickey" McBride formed the Cleveland, Ohio franchise in the All-American Football Conference (AAFC). Although he bought a football team, he wasn't a huge football fan himself. He hired someone trustworthy to coach and manage the team.

McBride hired Paul Brown as the head coach of the franchise and also gave him a portion of team ownership. He was the coach until 1960, and under him, Cleveland won three championship games.

In 1945, McBride asked the fans to choose a name for the franchise. The most popular choice was the Cleveland Panthers. McBride did not like the idea of naming the team after one of the previously failed Cleveland football franchises. So, he went ahead with the second-most-voted name - the Cleveland Browns.

Arizona Cardinals v Cleveland Browns
Arizona Cardinals v Cleveland Browns

Theory 2: The Cleveland Browns are named after a popular boxer of the time

VIDEO: Cleveland Browns: Team History | NFL UK Explains

The second theory suggests that the Cleveland-based team name was given by coach Paul Brown himself. He never accepted that the team was named after him, but instead claimed that the franchise was named after the famous boxer Joe Louis. He was famously known as “Brown Bomber.” In 1995, a Washington Post article backed up this theory.

However, a few years later, Brown reportedly accepted that the team was named after him. Since boxer Joe Louis has no relation to Cleveland, it makes little sense why the team would be named after him. Moreover, Cleveland fans believe in the Paul Brown theory and it is largely the accepted story.

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns
New York Jets v Cleveland Browns

Who owns the Cleveland Browns in 2023?

VIDEO: How It Was Named | NFL Teams
Justin Learns Things

The Cleveland Browns are currently owned by Dee and Jimmy Haslam. The team is reportedly valued at a whopping $4.62 billion as of 2023.

Jimmy is the chairman of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain. In 2012, he reached an agreement with then-Browns owner Randy Lerner to purchase the franchise for a reported $1 billion.

Under Haslam's ownership, the Browns have made just one postseason appearance so far, which came in the 2021 season.

Edited by John Maxwell

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