The Cleveland Browns still don't have a helmet logo, but they're making up for it in the other parts of their new uniform set.
The team's new uniforms, revealed Tuesday night, feature prominent use of the words "Cleveland" and "Browns." Here's a head-to-toe assessment:
The helmet: Pretty much the same as before, except the shade of orange has been tweaked (which had already been announced back in February), the face mask has changed from gray to brown (ditto), and -- in the one new detail revealed tonight -- the brown portions of the center stripe now have a textured pattern. This is all fine. Grade: A
The jerseys: The use of large "Cleveland" lettering on the chest of all three jerseys -- brown, white and orange -- feels forced and overdone, like something a college or even high school team would do. At the unveiling, a Nike designer boasted that this lettering constituted "the largest chest mark in the NFL," which isn't necessarily something to be proud of. It would work well on an alternate jersey (a "pride" design, as the industry currently likes to call them), but putting it on all three jerseys is too much.
On the plus side, the block-shadowed numerals look great on all three jerseys -- a nice touch, and a throwback to the franchise's early days. Unfortunately, the colored topstitching on all of the jersey seams looks like something you'd find in the "irregular" bin at a 99-cent store (especially on the brown jersey, where the orange topstitching looks particularly bad).
One final thought: In the midst of all the other developments, it's easy to overlook that the number of sleeve stripes has been cut from five to three. A pity. Grade: C
The pants: Embarrassing. Those big, honking "Browns" word marks down the sides are an arena league move. They're also designed to be a poison pill for traditionalists -- a litmus test to divide old-schoolers from futurists. Mission accomplished, at least in that regard. Grade: F
The socks: While the Browns have said that they'll now have nine different uniform combination possibilities (three jersey colors mixed and matched with three pant colors), the actual number of possibilities is 18, because they're going with two different sock options -- brown-topped and orange-topped, both featuring the standard-issue NFL format. Some stripes would've been nice, but almost no NFL teams bother with that anymore. Grade: A-
Of course, some of the combinations of these elements will look better than others -- solid orange, for example, is something to avoid, while the white jersey paired with the orange or brown pants isn't bad (at least until the players turn sideways to reveal the lettering on the pant legs). Overall, though, this feels like a downgrade. Too bad.