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Are the Browns Returning to White Facemasks Full-time in 2024? UPDATED

[Deputy Editor’s Note: Our own Alex Hider has been reading the tea leaves as more and more clues indicate the Cleveland Browns may be switching from brown to white facemasks for the 2024 season. Enjoy! — PH]

Are the Browns Returning to White Facemasks Full-time in 2024?
by Alex Hider


UPDATE: A couple hours after this piece published, a source in the retail industry reached out to Uni Watch.

“(Helmet manufacturer) Riddell notified certain retailers that the Browns would be one of the teams with a new primary helmet this year, if that helps to confirm your story. I have no details on what’s changing, only know that there are changes.”

The source later clarified that Riddell was notifying select retailers in affected markets that “existing retail inventory of collectible helmets will be outdated, and that current catalogs for this season don’t yet show the new designs. “
While this adds further credence to the rumors of a switch in facemask color, it doesn’t rule out additional changes Cleveland could be making to its helmet — the shade of orange, the width of the stripe, etc. To be clear, the evidence laid out below only points to a switch to white facemasks, but it’s something for Browns fans to track over the next few weeks.
ORIGINAL STORY: It’s been a quiet offseason for the Browns so far uni-wise. However, over the past 24 hours, there’s been a lot of circumstantial evidence released that indicates Cleveland may be switching to white facemasks permanently starting this season.

The Browns have worn white facemasks in a home game in each of the last two seasons: In 2022, they wore them in a home win against the Ravens in Week 15, and last season, they wore them at home in a Week 11 win against the Steelers. In both cases, the Browns paired the white-masked helmets with orange pants in a throwback to the Kardiac Kids era of the 1970s.

When the Browns debuted the white masks in 2022, team vice president JW Johnson tweeted that he “agreed” with fans who have been clamoring for the team to wear white facemasks full time. However, he noted that “there is a process so be patient.”

Paul later followed up with Jonathan Wright, the NFL’s Senior Director for Uniforms and On-Field Products, who told him that because the Browns use their helmet as their primary logo, he assumed the Browns would need to change the logo before switching to white facemasks full time. Wright added he estimated that changing the Browns’ logo was about a “two year process.”

A little less than two years later, there are a couple of signs that point to that process being complete, and the Browns returning to white facemasks full time as soon as the 2024 season.

The first hint comes in the form of the 2024 draft cap designs, which were released by New Era yesterday. The company has created both a GFGS design and a full color designs for most teams, but Browns are among the few teams without a full color design available.

Even looking at the GFGS design, it’s clear that the helmet logo includes a light-colored facemask.

The Browns dropped a second breadcrumb yesterday when they announced an international marketing campaign in Nigeria with a logo that included a white-masked helmet.

A switch to white facemasks would mark the Browns’ fourth facemask color change in team history. Cleveland wore grey masks up until 1975, when they switched to white. The Browns re-adopted white masks upon returning to the league as an expansion team in 1999, before switching back to grey in 2006 to celebrate their 60th anniversary. The team wore grey until 2015, when they rolled out brown facemasks as part of a radical, unpopular and short-lived rebrand.

Comments (37)

    I really think brown goes better with the uniforms than white. The white just pops out too me, brown just fits perfectly IMO. But also, Brown > White >>>> Gray

    I prefer the brown, but white is better than gray. Other than the goofy number font, the Browns have a really good set.

    It has some quirks. Rounded corners. The only thing I find off putting though is the one-sided bottom serif on the 7.

    Yeah, there’s only a half-serif on the bottom of the number 7. It looks completely stupid, but that’s Nike.

    As a Dolphins fan, I’ve always been jealous of the custom font the Browns have compared to the one Miami has. If it needs to be done, that’s the one I want.

    I’m actually a fan of the gray facemasks. Better than brown and fits their old school uniform design a little better IMHO and they don’t pop out as much as the white.

    I really like the white facemasks the best. I would also like for the Vikings to get rid of the black facemasks and go back to purple. Or, even try a yellow facemask?

    The Vikes really ought to go back to the ‘backs – and though I’m no fan of gray masks generally, I’d love it if the entire NFC Norris would wear ‘em!

    Browns – brown
    Niners – gold (thank you, UCLA)
    Vikings – purple
    Chiefs – yellow (or put yellow on the logo and keep the white mask)
    Colts – gray (buck my trend)

    A Jets breadcrumb: They did not have a hat revealed at all. It makes me think we are getting a logo tweak, or a return to the 80s-90s logo.

    Correct, they did not officially unveil a draft cap. Like all good uniform/logo updates though, it leaked:link

    Looks like a return to the old logo.

    FWIW, as a Browns fan, I’d love to see them return to white facemasks. I love the pop it gives the helmet, but it’s more of a nostalgia thing for me. That being said, brown facemasks look fine to me — though it would be nice to break another tie to those atrocious 2015-2019 unis.

    This is rampantly speculative. The lighter facemasks on the GFGS draft hats are easily explained by an artistic choice to help the facemask stand out from the rest of the greyed-out logo. The Nigera social media post makes it clear that they chose the white facemask so that they could color part of the middle green and evoke the Nigerian flag, which you can’t do with a brown facemask. There ought to be more evidence than this to warrant a post on the blog, no? There is literally nothing of substance here.

    Both points are valid and I’m surprised they weren’t brought up in the article – however it’s all framed as circumstantial from the jump and other evidence is presented.

    Not having a color version of the hat is a bit odd when other teams do, and would make sense if a logo change hasn’t been announced.

    The Nigeria announcement could have been done in a ton of different ways, and it isn’t like they made the full facemask an effect mirroring the flag.

    And the article does point out that this has been rumored and specifically on a timeline that might lead to a change around now. It feels like a valid callout of a decent amount of “smoke” all aligning.

    All will be right with the world. Browns in white face masks. As it should be.

    White is right. Lighter colored helmets should have lighter colored face masks, whether white or grey mask.

    I wonder if any/some/every players care and/or are affected positively or negatively by gray, black, white, red, brown, purple and yellow face masks. And yes, there is a musical nod in that question.

    No colored draft hat for the Browns like the Jets (changing logo and uniform) and the Texans (new uniform but the logo stays the same so why no colored hat?) but unlike the Broncos (new uniforms, same logo and a colored hat). Still I think we can expect a white facemask and I do not mind it at all. It makes the helmet pop even more and as the helmet is the primary logo it is fine with me.

    Tin foil – but given the rumors of the alt blue for the Texans maybe that color is in the hat design? But the broncos were cool with the existing logo and main colors for their hat so no need to “keep it under wraps”

    As long as Nike is allowed to experiment with uniforms, you can count on a few things:
    *most fans will not like it.
    *tradition will be killed.
    *no amount of Nike marketing lies will sell a rebrand.
    *the original uniforms, with few exceptions, are always better.

    There is no reason for them to have a grey facemask. The white one is by far the better choice over brown, just makes the whole uniform pop.

    Great! To me when teams that don’t have gray in their color scheme use a gray facemask they look cheap and amateur.

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