For thirty-five years the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns boasted that their team was named after legendary boxer Joe Louis, whose nickname was “The Brown Bomber.” The organization wanted to be associated with a winner and Joe Louis, the world heavyweight champion from 1937-1949, fit the bill.
The thing is – the story was completely made up. In fact, the team was named after its first coach – Paul Brown. After rejecting the name “Cleveland Panthers,” picked through a fan contest, owner Mickey McBride decided his football team would be named after the coach. Paul Brown was extremely uncomfortable with this decision and invented “The Brown Bomber” story to deflect attention away from himself. That may explain why the Cleveland Browns are the only team in the NFL without a logo on their helmets.
And for the record, the Cleveland Browns and the NFL now acknowledge that the team was indeed named after Paul Brown.