The fans have spoken, and every Browns fan’s favorite elf — Brownie — now adorns the 50-yard line at FirstEnergy Stadium, just in time for the team’s home opener against the New York Jets.
After a poll that team officials say generated an overwhelming response, the “running Brownie” logo was painted dead-center, giving the Browns their first midfield logo since 2016.
The end zones are decorated with a side view of the orange helmet logo, the red AFC logo and white “Browns” script.
"We're super excited about the new midfield logo," said JW Johnson, Browns Executive Vice President and Partner. "We really wanted to engage our fans in the process, and they are — as I've said multiple times — undefeated. They're the best in the league, best in the NFL and, candidly, some of the best in sports. We really wanted to get their involvement and hear what they have to say. We were able to pull off the new logo with the old school Brownie logo."
Incorporating fans into the midfield logo decision was an idea that Johnson and the Browns implemented to grow overall fan engagement this year, according to a news release from the team.
"We love the helmet logo, but Brownie has been around for a long time," Johnson said. "I think people enjoy him, and we haven't really showcased him as much as we'd like to. Between myself and (Browns Senior Vice President of Marketing & Media) Brent Rossi, we decided that we should bring him back. It's been well-received."
So how did Brownie the Elf become such an iconic figure for the Browns? The little guy has a complicated history with the team, and even team representatives are befuddled to the exact origin of the logo, according to Cleveland Scene’s comprehensive history of Brownie, written by Vince Grzegorek in 2009.
The logo’s inspiration dates back to folklore — “Brownies” were elf-like creatures that helped with household chores, provided you left them goodies to eat. Palmer Cox, prominent illustrator in the early 20th Century, began incorporating them into advertisements for companies that hired him to illustrate, such as Kodak.
Arthur McBride, the Browns owner in the late 1940s, sought to make his team more recognizable after a string of successful seasons, and after asking for submissions for mascot logo, settled on Brownie as the new face of the team.
However, Art Modell nixed Brownie in the 1960s, in addition to, you know, casting the Browns out of Cleveland in the 1990s.
Thankfully, when the Browns were resurrected in 1999, Brownie was brought back with them, and the rest is elvish history.
Read more about the history of Brownie on Cleveland Scene here.
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