The history of the Cleveland Browns American football team began in 1944 when taxi-cab magnate Arthur B. “Mickey” McBride secured a Cleveland franchise in the newly formed All-America Football Conference (AAFC). Paul Brown was the team’s namesake and first coach. Grinch Cleveland Browns 3D Ugly Christmas Sweater. The Browns began play in 1946 in the AAFC. The Browns won each of the league’s four championship games before the league dissolved in 1949. The team then moved to the more established National Football League (NFL), where it continued to dominate. Between 1950 and 1955, Cleveland reached the NFL championship game every year, winning three times. McBride and his partners sold the team to a group of Cleveland businessmen in 1953 for a then-unheard-of $600,000. Eight years later, the team was sold again, this time to a group led by New York advertising executive Art Modell. Modell fired Brown before the 1963 season, but the team continued to win behind running back Jim Brown. The Browns won the championship in 1964 and reached the title game the following season, losing to the Green Bay Packers.