Uniforms provided a disproportionate amount of Cleveland Browns news feeds in recent years.
And it wasn’t always as complimentary as it turned this season.
Back in 2015, Dee and Jimmy Haslam introduced one of the most reviled combinations of orange, brown, and white in history.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 14, 2015
Fans hated the Browns’ new uniforms with a passion.
But they were stuck with them for five seasons, thanks to the NFL’s uniform change policy.
Nike tried to rescue Browns fans by introducing Color rush uniforms in 2015.
In a trial run that season, 8 teams wore the bright-colored uniforms in four Thursday Night Football games.
All 32 teams were expected to join the fun in 2016.
— TSJSports (@TSJSports1) September 13, 2016
Cleveland unveiled a deep brown jersey and pants with solid orange numbers and stripes on the pants and shoulders.
Promoters claimed the uniform initially appeared black before the brown hues were realized.
Fans were happy with the look, but it would be a while before the Browns wore it in a game.
Why the Browns Were Last To Sport Color Rush
Cleveland’s Color Rush debut was scheduled against the Baltimore Ravens late in 2016.
But a national television audience would not get to see the Browns’ sporty new duds until Week 3… of 2018.
That was because of an issue Nike and the NFL failed to consider when choosing each team’s Color Rush shade.
— Tom Gelehrter (@Tommy_G) September 13, 2016
One of the 2015 trial games was played between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
Millions of Americans are color blind, with red and green the most common form of the malady.
There were 10 million potential viewers who could not discern the players from what looked like two brown teams.
Purple-Brown color blindness is another common form of the affliction.
Consultants hired by Nike warned the Ravens’ purple and Browns’ brown created a problem.
Brown-purple hues of NFL Color Rush jerseys vs Bal difficult to distinguish on field & on TV so @Browns will wear all white unis in 2016
— Rob McBurnett (@RobMcBrowns) September 13, 2016
Cleveland wound up wearing white against Baltimore and found themselves without a Color Rush game on the schedule in 2017.
That season, the team sacrificed a home team by playing in London.
Despite the reception of their regular uniforms, the Browns did not use the Color Rush as alternate uniforms in any other game.
Finally, a Triumphant Debut in Color Rush
Week 3 of the 2018 season marked two triumphant debuts for the Cleveland Browns.
Not only did rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield lead the Browns to a 21-17 comeback win over the Jets.
But the Thursday Night Football contest marked the first time Cleveland wore the Color Rush uniform.
The win gave Cleveland a 1-1-1 record and matched the team’s win total over the past two seasons.
Did you like the Cleveland Browns color rush uniforms? We know the boys at @PardonMyTake did. The Browns won in them.
— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) September 24, 2018
Cleveland asked for permission to use the uniforms twice more in 2018.
In Week 5, a last-second overtime field goal beat the Ravens, and Color Rush was 2-0.
Mayfield and the Browns made it a trifecta, taking care of business against the Bengals in Week 12.
Nike’s Color Rush promotion officially ended after the 2018 season.
But the NFL allowed teams to use the popular option as an alternate uniform in 2019.
That suited the Browns just fine.
Browns Try To Extend Color Rush Magic in 2019
Cleveland went to work before 2019 to redesign their unpopular regular uniforms.
Meanwhile, the Color Rush’ popularity soared among Browns fans and players after its 3-0 performance.
Cleveland asked for and received permission to use the all-brown option as their primary home uniform in 2019.
The decision was as much a part of the preseason hype as new head coach Freddie Kitchens and wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr.
— UNISWAG (@UNISWAG) June 2, 2019
Alas, there was no magic left in the Color Rush as evidenced by Cleveland’s 2-4 home record in the alternates.
But it was the seventh game in Color Rush hues that drew the most attention to the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland appealed to use the dark brown uniform in a game at Denver, who often wears white at home.
But nobody checked with the Broncos about their plans.
The Broncos and Browns are really testing my "way more football games should be played with color vs. color uniforms" worldview: pic.twitter.com/px6UuCqAbM
— Josh Vitale (@JoshVitale) November 3, 2019
When they hit the field in their orange jerseys, confusion reigned in living rooms across America.
Piles of orange, brown, and white made it difficult to discern what was happening.
Still Popular, Color Rush Survives 2020 Changes
Before the 2020 season, Cleveland unveiled a massive overhaul of their uniforms.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 15, 2020
For the most part, the organization paid homage to the uniforms of their glory days.
But the survival of a Color Rush option was prominently reported by everyone.
Despite the disappointment of the previous season, the deep brown uniform remains popular in Cleveland.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) October 4, 2020
Stripes were removed from the pants and the shoulder pads, giving the uniform a simpler look.
This further differentiates them from the team’s new look which includes brown jerseys with shoulder stripes.
Cleveland has been alternating orange and white pants with those uniforms.
The 2020 Color-Rush combo debuted in the Browns Week 4 road victory over Dallas.
That makes it undefeated in 2020 and a welcome alternate to the Browns new look.