Back in black...and gray
July 21, 2006
Back in Black...and Gray
Gene Hickerson sports the Browns' gray face mask and black shoes, both of which will return this season.
To help celebrate of the 60 years of memories and moments that the Browns and the city of Cleveland have shared since the franchise was born in 1946, the team has adopted several vintage uniform characteristics from years gone by for the 2006 season.
Browns fans will get their first look at these changes when the team takes the field for training camp on Wednesday, July 26, at the training facility in Berea, OH.
Some of these changes will be hard to spot. The numbers on the back of the helmet, for example, will now appear on the right side of the white stripe, rather than on both sides. On the brown jersey, the brown stripe that separates the orange and white stripe on the brown jersey will disappear.
The most noticeable of these changes will be the color of both the face mask and shoes. The team will go back to a gray face mask, which it wore from the time the team adopted facemasks as part of the uniform in 1954 until it went to white in 1975. In addition, instead of wearing the white shoes they have worn since 1975, the players will run out onto the field next week wearing black ones.
"Browns Huddle", the official publication of the Cleveland Browns, today presents a history behind both the gray facemask and the black shoes. Get a copy of this publication, a special training camp preview issue, inside newsstand copies of Friday's Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Below is a brief summary of the uniform changes you'll see when the team takes the field for training camp next week.
The Change: Facemasks will be gray.
Why: The Browns were the first team in the NFL to use a facemask, and it was made of a gray-colored material. The team introduced them as part of its standard uniform in 1954 and wore them every season until 1974. It was in this time period that many NFL teams began to introduce different colors in all parts of their uniforms, including the face mask. The Browns began using the white face mask in 1975.
The Change: The brown striping on the brown jerseys has been eliminated.
Black shoes and a gray facemask hang in a player's locker awaiting the start of camp.
Consistent with the uniform the Browns sported in the early years, the brown striping between the orange and white stripes on the sleeve have been eliminated.
The Change: The shoes will be black.
The Browns wore black shoes from the time the team was born in 1946 through 1974. But thanks to trend-setters like Joe Namath, who began wearing white shoes in the 1960s, the league slowly started to shift away from black. By the time 1975 arrived, black shoes were no longer a part of the Browns uniform.
The Change: The number on the back of the helmets will be placed on the lower right side.
Why: During the 1970s, the Browns placed the uniform number between the stripes on the back of the helmet. For example: 2 l 1 The numbers on the back of the helmet this season will look like this: l 21 The last time the Browns used this number scheme on the back of the helmet was in the 1960s.
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