The Cleveland Browns are a professional football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are currently members of the North Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team began play in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and joined the NFL in 1950 after the AAFC folded.
Cleveland has won a total of eight league championships. They won all four AAFC titles (including a 15-0 undefeated season in 1948), and after joining the NFL won four additional championships prior to the league's merger with the American Football League (AFL) in 1970. Following the merger, the Browns were one of three NFL teams which joined the ten former AFL teams to form the new American Football Conference. Despite having the sixth-highest winning percentage of all NFL franchises, the Browns have not played in a league championship game since the merger; however, they have competed for the AFC Championship three times. Having lost all three games, along with two NFL Championship Games of the Super Bowl era prior to the merger (in 1968 and 1969). The 2017 team became the second team to go winless in a 16 game season.
The Cleveland Browns were founded in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), under businessman Arthur "Mickey" McBride. Not long after gaining the franchise, McBride named Ohio State Buckeyes coach Paul Brown as vice president, general manager and head coach. The franchise conducted a team naming contest in 1945. The most popular submission was "Browns" in recognition of Paul Brown, already an established and popular figure in Ohio sports. Brown at first objected to the name and the team selected the name "Panthers". However, after an area businessman informed the team that he owned the rights to the name Cleveland Panthers from an earlier failed football team, Brown rescinded his objection and agreed to the use of his name.
The Browns dominated the AAFC, winning all four of its championships from 1946 to 1950. The AAFC dissolved after the 1949 season, and the NFL agreed to take in three of the AAFC's teams for the 1950 season, including the Browns.
During the Browns first year in the NFL, they would go on to win the 1950 NFL Championship.