Is This Cleveland Browns 1974 Fan Letter Real?!

Cleveland Browns Letter

Have you heard about the infamous Cleveland Brown 1974 Fan letter and the HILARIOUS response from the team attorney?

In 1974 a Cleveland Browns fan wrote a letter to the team to complain about fans throwing paper airplanes during the team’s NFL games at home. He was concerned they were a safety hazard.

He received back one of the funniest letters from an attorney we have ever seen!

In fact Deadspin even referred to it as “The Greatest Letter Ever Printed on NFL Team Letterhead.”

Read on to learn about this hilarious, mind boggling exchange of letters!

Original Letter the Cleveland Browns Fan sent in 1974

The first letter was sent by a fan who was an attorney and also a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder. This man’s name was Dale O. Cox, from the Akron law firm Roetzel & Andress and it was dated November 18, 1974.

Mr. Cox was complaining about the potential for injury as a result of Browns fans creating and throwing paper airplanes during the home games at the Cleveland Browns stadium.

Here’s the text with the original letter below:


I am one of your season ticket holders who attends or tries to attend every game. It appears that one of the pastimes of several fans has become the sailing of paper airplanes generally made out of the game program. As you know, there is the risk of serious eye injury and perhaps an ear injury as a result of such airplanes. I am sure that this has been called to your attention and that several of your ushers and policemen witnessed the same.

Please be advised that since you are in a position to control or terminate such action on the part of fans, I will hold you responsible for any injury sustained by any person in my party attending one of your sporting events. It is hoped that this disrespectful and possibly dangerous activity will be terminated.

Very Truly Yours,


By Dale O. Cox

Cleveland Browns Letter from 1974.jpg


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Cleveland Browns General Counsel’s Reply

Three days later, Browns general counsel James N. Bailey responded with the funniest reply ever. Certainly not what anyone would expect from an attorney!

Here’s the text with the original letter below:

Dear Mr. Cox:

Attached is a letter that we received on November 19, 1974. I feel that you should be aware that some ******* is signing your name to stupid letters.

Very Truly Yours,


James N. Bailey,

General Counsel


browns letter - attorney response.jpg



















Are The Cleveland Browns Letters Real?

Over the years, people have wondered if the letters were real or a joke/hoax.

Note: If you were wondering if this letter is real, yes it is! Even confirmed by snopes.

We dug deeper and here is the update:

In 2010, Michael Heaton, a writer at the Cleveland Plain Dealer contacted both parties.

Turns out that James Bailey now lives in San Diego and was 66 when Mr. Heaton contacted him in 2010. He said the letter was a “youthful indiscretion:

 “I was all of 28 years old when I wrote that letter. I should have been more cautious. I’m just glad my mother’s not around to see that letter.”

As you can see on the bottom of the original letter (above), Mr. Bailey copied in Arthur Modell,  who was the team owner at the time.

Mr. Bailey said he was verbally “chewed out” afterwards – LOL!

Mr. Cox was 72 at the time and still practicing law in the state of Idaho. He said he had remained a Cleveland Browns fan and found the letter funny.

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Image Credit: Drawn by User:LBDesigns, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons