Brownie Elf is the sports mascot for the Ohio-based football team, the Cleveland Browns. The elfish character has pointy ears, wears pointy-tipped shoes, a belt with a big buckle and a stocking cap and carries a football tucked underneath his arm.
Brownie Elf (aka, “Brownie the Elf”) was the mascot for the team beginning in 1946 when the franchise was born. He first appeared on the covers of the Browns media guides (1946-49) in the All-America Football Conference.
The idea for an elf as mascot came from Arthur McBride, the team’s owner at the time when was looking for a new face for his team. Although McBride approved the idea, it is a mystery as to who drew the image of Brownie Elf. One source recalls the elf was taken from a Sears advertisement, while another claims the image came from a local Girl Scout Brownie troop.
Brownie the Elf made his first appearance in a newspaper ticket ad for the 1946 season opener against the Miami Seahawks at old Cleveland Stadium. The ad includes the elf, with a mean look on his face, running with a football. The ad also featured the phrase: “Here come the Brownies.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper helped popularize the elf when caricatures of the elf appeared on the sports section of the newspaper and the front page of the paper as a way to advertise the wins or loses of the Cleveland Browns. If the Browns won a game, Brownie elf was seen smiling, but if the team lost, the elf would appear battered and bruised with a black eye.
In 1953, The elf became so popular, that the management at the Browns contemplated putting Brownie the Elf onto the side of the club’s plain orange helmets. But they never followed through with that idea. In fact, today, The Browns are the only National Football League team without a helmet logo.
Over the years, the appearance of Brownie the Elf was updated. Alternate logos included an orange elf from 1950-69, and a halfback elf from 1960-69. After the Browns won the NFL title in 1964, Brownie was often depicted with a crown signifying the team’s achievement.
The elf remained the emblem of the Browns through the championship years of the 1950s until Art Modell bought the club on March 21, 1961 and phased out the elf as a team emblem. As Art was quoted, “My first official act as owner of the Browns will be to get rid of that little (elf).”
For a time, Brownie the Elf appeared on the cover of the team’s 1961 media guide but by 1962, the elf was gone. It remained that way for the duration of Modell’s ownership of the Browns, which ended when he moved his franchise to Baltimore following the 1995 season. The team was re-branded The Baltimore Ravens. As part of the agreement with the city, retained the rights to use the Browns team name as the local football franchise.
Prior to the teams move to Baltimore, Brownie Elf was used as a mascot for the St. Louis Browns baseball team, although looking a different. During this brief run, Brownie appeared on the team’s jersey sleeve, on the cover of the team’s 1952 schedule, and even on the door to owner Bill Veeck’s office.
In 1999, Brownie the Elf was resurrected, when the team returned to Cleveland. During the 2004 Season, images of The Brownie appeared on the Team’s ponchos and equipment trunks.
In 2006, the Browns used images of Brownie elf on the 2006 Training Camp Patch celebrating the franchise’s 60th anniversary and the front of their 2006 Media Guide.
In 2013, a new “Brownie the Elf” returned in the form a person dressed in a costume of Brownie the Elf who cheers on the crowd and provides the good luck for the team.
Fans interested in Brownie-related merchandise can check out the GPS Gift Gallery in Rocky River, Ohio, the self-proclaimed “Home of the Brownie Elf.”
NOTE: Before the resurgence of Brownie the Elf, the Cleveland Browns team mascot was a brown dog wearing a Cleveland browns helmet. The four real canines mascots used on the field were: CB a bull mastiff; Chomps a Lab; TD a German Shepherd, and Trapper a Weimaraner.
The Browns official fan club is referred to as the Dawg Pound. The concept began in 1985 while Hanford Dixon barked with teammates on the field and fans in the east end zone seating joined in fray, hence the “Dawg Pound” was born.
During the final game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium (to be torn down) in December 1995, members of the Dawg Pound ripped the bleachers from the stands as souvenirs.
The replacement stadium (FirstEnergy Stadium) has a new Dawg Pound section but it is oriented to more corporate crowd versus the blue collar fans who populated the original seats in the old stadium.
“Here We Go, Brownies, Here We Go!”, followed by “Woof! Woof!” was the most common chant heard in the Pound, especially on drives (either offensive or defensive) going towards that end of
the field. Late night talk show host Arsenio Hall adopted the “Woof! Woof! as his signature cry. He even name a section of the audience his “Dog Pound.”
Brownie the Elf
c/o FirstEnergy Stadium
100 Alfred Lerner Way
Cleveland, OH 44114
Cleveland Browns (Website)