Cleveland Browns Mascot: What Is It and Why Did They Choose It?

Brownie the Elf
Brownie the Elf, the Cleveland Browns’ mascot. Photo: Erik Drost.

What is the Cleveland Browns mascot and why did they choose it?

The Cleveland Browns mascot is Brownie the Elf. 

Brownie’s name comes from the Browns’ first head coach, Paul Brown. The team was formed in 1946. Its first owner, Mickey McBride, handpicked Paul Brown, a football legend, to lead the team. 

Before the new team had an official name, fans simply called it “Paul Brown’s Team.” 

Paul Brown was a beloved figure and the name stuck. Eventually the name was shortened to the Browns. 

Fans love mascots. So, McBride knew they had to decide on one. Initially, it was tricky coming up with a mascot that fit with the name “Browns.”

That is until he realized that a “brown” is more than a color; it’s a mythical creature. In other words, a brownie.1

Brownie Elf
Illustration of a “genuine” brownie from the book “Brownies and Other Tales,” 1920, by Juliana Horatia Ewing and illustrated by Alice B Woodward. Source: G. Bell & Sons, London.

A surprising number of cultures believe in little human-like beings. For example, the Irish have leprechauns, Icelanders have elves, and the Cherokee tell tales of the Cherokee Little People.2

In Scottish folklore, brownies are domestic spirits who come out at night and help with household chores.

According to Scottish legends, it was very important to leave treats out for them, such as a bowl of cream. The reason was that brownies could be spiteful.

If they felt disrespected in any way, they would become very mischievous, causing household disruptions. Or worse, they might leave the home altogether leaving bad luck in their wake.3

So, the Browns’ mascot, Brownie the Elf, was inspired by “real” brownies.

In 1960, when Art Modell took ownership of the Browns, he got rid of Brownie as the team mascot. The team tried out “less-cute” mascots, like dogs.

Swagger, a bull mastiff, is also one of the Browns’ mascots. Photo: Erik Drost.

Eventually, the dog mascots became Chomps and Swagger. Chomps is a lab who wears a jersey with the number 00. And Swagger is a bull mastiff. 

However, loyal fans missed Brownie and worried that his disappearance brought bad luck for their beloved team. So, by 1999, the Browns brought Brownie the Elf back.4 

Today, Brownie represents the team and entertains the fans along with the dogs.

Chomps Brownie Swagger
Chomps, Brownie, and Swagger, the Cleveland Browns’ mascots (and some people who are not mascots.) Photo: Erik Drost.

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