The Cleveland Browns were founded in 1945 by businessman Arthur B. McBride as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), which began play the following year. They were named for their first head coach, Paul Brown. The Browns dominated the AAFC, compiling a 47-4-3 record over its four active seasons and winning the championship in each of them. Following the AAFC's demise after the 1949 season, the Cleveland Browns were one of three franchises invited to join the NFL
(the others were the San Francisco 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts). The Browns won a championship in their inaugural NFL season, as well as in the 1954, 1955, and 1964 seasons. From 1965 to 1995, they made the playoffs 14 times, but to date, have never won another championship and have never appeared in a Super Bowl.
On November 6, 1995, Art Modell, who had purchased the Browns in 1961, announced he was relocating the franchise to Baltimore, Maryland after the season. Modell's new team would begin playing in the 1996 season. It would be the first time since 1935 that Cleveland would be left without an existing football team and the first time since 1943 with a Cleveland Football Team playing when the Cleveland Rams suspended operation for one year so the other teams could have enough players during World War II.
However, many Browns fans and Cleveland city officials were determined to keep the team in Cleveland, and orchestrated a grassroots movement to keep the team in Cleveland. The NFL responded by working with city officials, and the two parties came to a unique agreement which would provide the city with a brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium and would promise the return of professional football to Cleveland by the beginning of the 1999 season. Modell also agreed to relinquish the Browns' name, colors and team history to the new owner of the Browns. Modell's new team would begin playing in the 1996 season as the Baltimore Ravens, and was regarded as a new franchise expansion team. The Browns were then considered to have suspended operations from 1996 to 1998.
The 1999 Cleveland Browns season marked the team's return to the National Football League after a three-year absence. It was the team's 47th season with the National Football League. The 1999 season also marked the return of football to the city of Cleveland for the first time since the 1995 season.
Doug Atkins (1953-1954), Jim Brown (1957-1965), Paul Brown (1946-1962), Willie Davis (1958-1959), Len Dawson (1960-1961), Joe DeLamielleure (1980-1984), Len Ford (1950-1957), Frank Gatski (1946-1956), Otto Graham (1946-1955),
Lou Groza (1946-1959, 1961-1967), Gene Hickerson (1958-1973), Henry Jordan (1957-1958), Leroy Kelly (1964-1973),
Dante Lavelli (1946-1956), Mike McCormack (1954-1962), Tommy McDonald (1968), Bobby Mitchell (1958-1961),
Marion Motley (1946-1953), Ozzie Newsome (1978-1990), Paul Warfield (1964-1969,1976-1977), Bill Willis (1946-1953)
Bernie Kosar, Michael Dean Perry, Greg Pruitt,Ray Renfro
Clay Matthews, Brian Sipe, Mac Speedie
Hanford Dixon, Bob Gain, Dick Schafrath
Gary Collins, Tommy James, Dub Jones, Mike Pruitt
Frank Minnifield, Frank Ryan, Jerry Sherk, Jim Ray Smith
Earnest Byner, Doug Dieken, Jim Houston, Walt Michaels
Don Cockroft, Horace Gillom, Bill Glass, Kevin Mack
Walter Johnson, Warren Lahr, Eric Metcalf, Paul Wiggin
Cody Risien, John Wooten
Vince Costello, Tom DeLeone