The Cleveland Browns started out as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) for the leagues inaugural 1945 season. Originally the team was to be called the Cleveland Panthers, after an earlier football team in the city, but the owner of that team stopped it as he still owned the rights to the identity. As a last-second alternative the club took on the name of their first head coach, Paul Brown. Following the disbandment of the AAFC in 1949, the Browns and fellow homeless AAFC teams the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts joined the National Football League for the 1950 season.
On November 6, 1995 the Cleveland Browns announced they would be relocating to Baltimore for the 1996 season and would be known as the Baltimore Browns. Following a series of lawsuits by the city of Cleveland a compromise was reached that stripped the team of the rights to the Browns identity and history in hopes of securing another team in the future, the Baltimore Browns were treated as an expansion francise (with the Browns former players) and were re-named the Baltimore Ravens. The Cleveland Browns did not participate in the 1996, 97, or 98 seasons before the NFL awarded an expansion team to the city of Cleveland for the 1999 season. The expansion Browns absorbed the entire history and branding of the original Browns.
The Cleveland Browns are the only NFL team to have never used a logo on their helmet, choosing to use a plain orange shell for their entire existance.