Who is Elf Brownie? The story of the Cleveland Browns mascot

CLEVELAND – No one, at least still alive, knows for sure how the Brownie Elf became the first official mascot of the Cleveland Browns in about 76 years.

However, one fact is certain: It was Art Modell who put the puck on the shelf after buying the team in 1961.

“My first official act as a Browns owner would be to get rid of this little thing,” Modell told newspaper reporters at the time.

Brownie is back – and bigger than ever.

Leading the pre-season online fan vote, Browne has re-established as the team’s midfield crest, a massive display of his original, fuzzy look prior to the Cleveland opening season in 1946.

Brownie’s latest cartoon spans 45-yard lines horizontally, crosses hash marks vertically, and is easily spotted from planes passing overhead.

And if you’re confused about having a Brownie as an NFL mascot, well, you’re not alone.

“I don’t know what to think,” Cleveland Pass Miles Jarrett He said. “It’s authentic, it’s unique. But I’ve always been a fan of the dog. I mean, we’re Dawg Pound, but we have a dwarf?”

“I think we’re a little confused about which way we want to go creatively.”

One of the most inexplicable losses in franchise history tainted Brownie’s lavish midfield debut on Sunday. Cleveland became the first team in 21 years to lose a 13-point lead in the last two minutes. With 1:55 to play, the New York Jets scored a 66-yard touchdown, recovered a kick to the side, and then scored another touchdown to stun Brown, 31-30. in another place Fan Poll Across 850 ESPN Cleveland, more than 5% of voters blamed Brownie for the defeat.

Brownie could be 0-1 as the Cleveland midfield crest heading into Thursday night’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers (8:15 p.m. ET, Prime Video). But for more than seven decades, the Brownie has been the boyish face of the soccer-dominant dynasty. Prolific, the emblem on the helmet almost once became.


Legend Brownies began in Britain and date back to at least the early 16th century. According to John T.

“It’s a little hairy creature that lives in homes and farms with people,” Cruz told ESPN of the mythical beings. “He performs a range of domestic and agricultural chores on the basis that he receives free shelter and accommodation from human beings.”

Despite their diligence, brownies can be very tricky.

Cross noted that Brownies appreciate the milk and fresh bread left for them at night. But they hate being spied on whether they are working or eating. They especially despise praise and criticism.

“Any gift of clothing really provokes him,” Cruz said. “It’s seen as an insult or a form of submission.” “The usual consequence of this is that he will undo everything he has done, make a mess in the house, and then leave for good.”

The character Dobby in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books derives from the brownie legend, which began to appear in America in the early 20th century. In 1916, Girl Scouts, referring to the same brownie legend, began calling their 7- and 9-year-old members “brownies,” taken from the story “Brownies and Other Tales” by Juliana Horatia Ewing, originally published in 1870.

In 1929, the Detroit-based Atlas Beverage Company began producing a caramel brownie root beer, the bottles of which were decorated with dwarfs. The company quickly placed a banner advertising the soft drink on the side of a building in downtown Massillon, Ohio.

Far from it, so the story goes, the Elf Brownie was born.


by Paul Brown He was winning NFL titles as a coach for the Cleveland Browns, and he was accumulating state championships at Massillon High School.

Entering his final season at Massillon in 1940, Brown commissioned a local artist, AD Small, to create a logo for the Tigers – Obie (which stands for orange and black, the colors of Massillon).

After serving in the US Navy during World War II, Brown was assigned to coach the new Cleveland professional football team. Owner Mickey McBride and the team held a fan contest to determine the title. “Brown” was the winning presentation in honor of the first coach. Brown initially objected to this. Another request – “Panthers” – was picked up instead, until a local businessman informed the team that he owned the rights to the Cleveland Panthers. Brown finally gave in to the “Brown” name.

Next, the team needed a logo.

But what does ‘Brown’ stand for? Brown’s historian, Barry Shock, has been following the origin story of Brownie’s Elf for years. “Muddy? Candy? Dog poop?”

Did Brown come up with the idea for a sprite brownie from the root beer brand at Massillon? And did Small, again, produce the drawing?

“If you look at Obie and you look at Brownie, she’s the same character,” said Shock, who also writes for DawgsByNature.com. “They both run. They both have a stiff arm. They both wear a hat.”

Browne was not mentioned by the Cleveland-area newspapers until he appeared in an advertisement promoting ticket sales days before the Browns’ first game against the Miami Seahawks in 1946.

Steve King, a longtime sports writer in Northeast Ohio who later worked at Brown from 2004-13, also spent years researching the concept of Brownie the Elf. He once asked Paul Brown’s son, the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals Mike Brownif he knew where the brownie came from (it wasn’t Mike Brown).

However, through his research, King came to the same conclusion as Shock.

“I’m sure I got as close as anyone else could get,” King said. “The truth is buried in a cemetery somewhere – and I don’t know where…but Brownie’s secret is what makes it so great.”


Submitted by Paul BrownOtto Graham, Lou Grosza, and, yes, Brownie the Elf, the Cleveland Browns won four consecutive Pan American Football Conference titles from 1946 to 1949.

Assistant Equipment Manager Tommy Flynn dressed like a Brownie on game days and emulated Brown on the sidelines.

“If Paul Brown raised his hands up, Tommy Flynn would raise his hands up,” Shock said. “If Paul Brown takes off his hat and hits it on the floor, Tommy Flynn takes off his hat and throws it on the ground.”

Flynn’s antics vanished when Brown joined the NFL in 1950. But Brownie’s Elf and Cleveland winning ways remained. Brown won another championship in their first season in the NFL.

By 1953, Brown wanted to offer more Brownie. Browns coach Leo Murphy tasked him with putting the Brownie logo on one of Cleveland’s orange helmets to see what it would look like.

“Leo finally got it done and he’s all so proud,” King said. Walks into Paul Brown’s office [and] He puts it on his desk. But Brown took one look at him and said, ‘I don’t like it. Take it away.”

Decades later, King was visiting Murphy’s home in Ohio, when Murphy said he had a secret to show.

“He came back and took out this Brown helmet,” King recalls. “And I’ve got a Brownie Elf on the side… he kept the helmet all those years, which is incredible.”

Murphy passed away in 2018. Whatever happened to his Brownie helmet is also a mystery.


BROWNIE THE ELF He last appeared on the cover of the Cleveland Media Guide in 1961. Model bought the team and denied Brownie. A year later, he featured on the cover of Media Guide a star stepping back from Jim Brown instead.

But over the next 30 years, Cleveland cartoonist Dick Duggan helped keep Brownie’s spirit alive. The reader can tell if Brown won or lost just by looking at Dogan Brownie’s cartoons.

“My first official act as a Browns owner would be to get rid of that little boy.”

Former Browns owner Art Modell

“If Brown wins, the pucks were proud or whatever,” King said. “If Brown loses, it looks like he’s been beaten up in a fight.”

In 1995, Modell badly acquired the Browns, transferring the franchise to Baltimore. But when owner Al Lerner and President Carmen Polisi brought the Browns back four years later, they brought Brownie back.

Gradually, the legend also returned.

Brownie was the team’s official training camp logo in 2006. Brownie’s side mascot first appeared in 2015.

Kevin Stefansky has worn the Brownie the Elf cap almost every day since he became head coach for Cleveland in 2020. This year, Brownie is wearing the team jersey.

Now, he is the face of Cleveland Field.

“We won seven tournaments with the Elf?” asked Garrett. “If we get an eighth tournament with this goblin, you’ve come here dressed as a little elf.”