2007 IN REVIEW
On February 2, Brett Favre announced that he would return. "I am so excited about coming back," the 37-year-old quarterback said. He also commented, "We have a good nucleus of young players.
We were 8-8 last year, and that's encouraging." Little did he know how encouraging the season would be, as the Packers tied with a franchise win with 13 wins. The off-season did cause its share of
concern. Ahman Green signed with Houston, and William Henderson was released. Reportedly, the Packers were in talks with Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss at the behest of Favre. If
the Packers had made the move to acquire the 30 year-old wide receiver, the trade would no doubt have been a controversial one, as Moss has a long and storied history with the Green Bay franchise.
The rumors were put to an end on April 29th, when Oakland dealt Moss to New England for a 4th round draft pick. In the days following the NFL draft, Favre was reportedly so upset that his agent
requested that the Packers trade him. Mike McCarthy was able to calm Favre down over the phone. Ironically, the Packers clinched the NFC North division title with a win over Moss' old employers,
Oakland. It was the Packers' 18th division title, along with their 24th playoff berth with three games remaining in the season - the second-fastest division title in team history. The surprise of the
season was RB Ryan Grant, who was traded by the Giants to the Packers on September 1 in exchange for a future sixth-round draft pick and played as the second-string running back behind
DeShawn Wynn for the first 6 games of the season. He took over as the starter after Wynn went down with an injury. In the Packers divisional playoff game against the Seahawks, he fumbled twice in
the first 4 minutes; both the resulting drives led to touchdowns for the Seahawks. Grant made up for these early mistakes by going on to rush for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns, both of which set
franchise records for Packers' post-season games. The season ended on a sour note, though, when Green Bay lost the NFC title to the eventual-champion New York Giants at Lambeau Field in
overtime. It was the 3rd coldest game in NFL history.
MILWAUKEE AND THE OTHER PRO LEAGUES
AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE - Milwaukee's last outdoor pro football franchise, the Chiefs, closed its doors in 1941, when the American Football League shut down for World War II. When another American Football League was launched in 1960, it took only a few years for the league to turn its eyes toward Wisconsin. After granting an expansion team to Atlanta in June 1965, the league said it was also looking at Chicago and Milwaukee for a 10th franchise, after a deal with Philadelphia started to fall apart. In June, commissioner Joe Foss came to the city to tape a television show. He said the city was one of six the league was looking at for an expansion team. Foss said the AFL needed another Midwestern team to complement the Kansas City Chiefs. Marvin Fishman was the spokesman for a group seeking an AFL team, with former Notre Dame coach Terry Brennan also among the organizers. In July, the team sent a $900,000 letter of credit to the AFL, which said it wanted to add two teams in 1966 and two more in 1968. In November, Fishman said that he was looking for 30,000 season ticket pledges. In April 1966, Fishman was told to ask Vince Lombardi for permission to hold an AFL exhibition game between the Jets and Dolphins later that summer. The Packers, who had an exclusive contract with County Stadium through the 1968 season, predictably said no two days later. Fishman said he expected the game would have brought a crowd of 40,000.
CONTINENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE - In the summer of 1967, Fishman apparently had switched his sights to a franchise in the Continental Football League, and threatened litigation to force County Stadium to open its doors to a team other than the Packers. Nothing came of the threat, but Milwaukee was granted a CFL franchise in January 1967 at a cost of $25,000. In March 1967, it was reported that the Milwaukee CFL franchise was in jeopardy, and the league was waiting on a decision from an investor to place a team in New York. If that team did not come to pass, the CFL planned to place a team in Chicago or Akron in addition to Milwaukee. Later that month, Fishman announced the team would not launch until 1968. Nothing more would be heard about the franchise, and Fishman moved onto another project - acquiring an NBA franchise, which he did in January 1968 with the Bucks.
WORLD FOOTBALL LEAGUE - Milwaukee was briefly mentioned as a possible franchise in the World Football when it formed in 1973. In December of that year, Birmingham owner Bill Putman listed off six cities, including Milwaukee, that were being considered for teams after the first wave of franchises was issued. By January 1974, the WFL was formed without Milwaukee.
CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE - In 1994, Fishman was back in the news, confirming reports that he was exploring the possibility of bringing a CFL franchise. Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist was open to the idea after the Packers decided that they would no longer play any regular season games at County Stadium. CFL Commissioner Larry Smith said Milwaukee would probably acquire a current team, rather than an expansion franchise, an it was one of the five cities that Las Vegas owner Nick Mileti is considering as a potential home for his team. By January 1995, it was reported that the only stumbling block for a move to Milwaukee by the Posse is a "suitable lease agreement" for use of County Stadium. Nothing came to pass and the team eventually folded in April.
NEW USFL - The most recent flirtations with pro football have come in the form of the new USFL, which was rumored to be trying to launch in 2010. Milwaukee was one of more than 30 cities being considered. The New USFL was founded in 2009 by Southern California businessman Michael Dwyer. But after three years of inactivity and failed efforts to launch the league, the league was purchased by EndZone Sports Management and will be headquartered in San Diego. The league expects to field eight teams and play a 14-game regular season from March to June with a four-team playoff system and championship starting in the spring of 2014. The league is a professional league, but will operate as a developmental minor league which will afford players and personnel the opportunity to advance their level of play to other leagues like the National Football League, Arena Football League or Canadian Football League. The league rules will mirror those of the NFL. The new USFL plans to have 8 teams for their first season, with franchises set for markets in Ohio, Southern California, Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana. Discussions about teams in Hartford, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Rochester have been mentioned by the league as well.
UNITED FOOTBALL LEAGUE - The UFL debuted in 2009. United Football League Commissioner Michael Huyghue said his fledgling league had plans to add two teams a year for the next three years. And Milwaukee, he said, would be one of the cities under consideration. The league had identified 21 cities with strong economic bases, passionate football tradition, and a high number of average TV viewing households as potential team locations when it was founded. Target markets included: Austin; Birmingham; Columbus; Hartford; Las Vegas; London, England; Los Angeles; Louisville; Memphis; Mexico City; Milwaukee; Monterrey, Mexico; New York City; Oklahoma City; Orlando; Portland, Oregon; Raleigh-Durham; Sacramento; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; and San Jose. After four unprofitable seasons, the league appears to have folded. On October 20, 2012, after four weeks, continued financial shortfalls, an uncertain stadium situation in Las Vegas, and dramatically reduced attendances across all four markets, the UFL ceased operations for the remainder of the 2012 season. According to head of public relations Larry Weismann, the league intends on resuming the canceled schedule some time in spring 2013, with those games counting toward the 2012 season standings, then come back yet again for the next season in fall 2013. Milwaukee is no longer mentioned as an expansion franchise, since it does not even appear the UFL will return.