Though the city currently has no National Football League team, Milwaukee is considered a home market for the Green Bay Packers. The team split its home schedule between Green Bay and Milwaukee from 1933 to 1994, with the majority of the Milwaukee games being played at Milwaukee County Stadium.
The Packers played games in Milwaukee to attract more fans and revenue while the team's then-official home, City Stadium, remained inadequate compared to other NFL venues. Threats by the league to relocate the Packers permanently to Milwaukee caused the team to replace City Stadium with Lambeau Field. The Packers then regularly renovated Lambeau Field until changes completed in 1995 made it more lucrative for the team to remain in Green Bay full time.
The 1939 Championship between the Packers and the New York Giants was played at State Fair Park in what is currently known as the Milwaukee Mile. The Packers won, 27-0. A 1931 championship against the Portsmouth Spartans was also scheduled for Milwaukee, but was called off. The Packers final post-season game in Milwaukee was a 1967 divisional playoff against the Los Angeles Rams which the Packers won 28-7. They went on to capture their last NFL Championship and Super Bowl victory under Vince Lombardi.
The Packers maintain two separate season ticket plans, reflecting their time spent in Milwaukee: Gold package holders, made up largely of former Milwaukee season ticket holders, have a three-game package consisting of the annual Midwest Shrine preseason contest plus the second and fifth regular-season home games each year; Green package holders (made up of original Green Bay ticket holders) attend the annual Bishop's Charities preseason game and the remaining six regular-season contests.
After the team folded following the 1926 season (largely due to being left broke because of a $500 fine by the NFL for using four high-school players in a 1925 game against the Chicago Cardinals, a game arranged after the Badgers had disbanded for the season), many of its members played for the independent semi-pro Milwaukee Eagles. Some of the players from this team went on to play for the NFL's Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933. This has led some to mistakenly believe that either the Badgers or Eagles became the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although City Stadium in Green Bay was the Packers' official home field, in 1933 they began to play some of their home games in Milwaukee to attract more fans and revenue. After hosting one game at Borchert Field in 1933, the Packers played two or three home games each year in Milwaukee, at Wisconsin State Fair Park from 1934–1951, Marquette Stadium in 1952, and Milwaukee County Stadium from 1953–1994., after which the Packers moved back to Green Bay permanently.
The infield of the quarter-mile dirt infield track at the Mile near the current media center was also the location of a football stadium, informally known as the Dairy Bowl. It hosted the Green Bay Packers from 1934 through 1951, including the NFL championship game in 1939, a 27–0 shutout of the New York Giants on December 10 to secure a fifth league title.
During this period, the issue of a new stadium in Green Bay began to surface. City Stadium was an inadequate facility, seating only 25,000. Players also had to use the locker rooms at the local high school. The Packers' status in Green Bay became unstable. With City Stadium greatly outdated, and more and more opponents asking for their games against the Packers to be played in Milwaukee, the NFL required the Packers to build a new stadium if they wanted to stay in Green Bay. The Packers and the city of Green Bay complied, building a brand-new 32,000-seat stadium, naming it New City Stadium (currently known as Lambeau Field). The new stadium was dedicated in a 1957 game against the Chicago Bears, with many celebrities attending, including actor James Arness, NFL commissioner Bert Bell, vice president (and future U.S. president) Richard Nixon, and Bears coach George Halas. The Packers won the game, 21–17, but finished the season 3–9.
The Packers played two to four home games per year at Milwaukee County Stadium from 1953 to 1994, Milwaukee County Stadium hosted at least one pre-season game annually during this time as well (except 1983), including the Upper Midwest Shrine Game. By 1995, multiple renovations to Lambeau Field made it more lucrative for the Packers to play their full home slate in Green Bay again for the first time since 1932. Former Milwaukee ticket holders were offered tickets at Lambeau to one pre-season game and the second and fifth home games of the regular season schedule, in what is referred to as the "Gold package." Meanwhile, the "Green package" (for the original Green Bay ticket holders) consisted of the other preseason home game and the six remaining regular season home games.
Milwaukee County Stadium was partly responsible for Lambeau Field's existence, as it was not only intended to lure an MLB team to Milwaukee (which it successfully did in when the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee from 1953-1965 before moving again to Atlanta; and again in 1970, when the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers), but also to lure the Packers to Milwaukee full-time. As originally constructed, Milwaukee County Stadium was double the size of the Packers' then-home, New City Stadium.
The Minnesota Vikings (15 times) were the Packers' most frequent foe at Milwaukee County Stadium, as the Packers would traditionally host at least one divisional rival from the NFC Central in Milwaukee each season. Only once, however, did the Packers play the Chicago Bears, their primary rivals, in a regular-season game in Milwaukee, defeating the Bears 20–3 in 1974.) On November 26, 1989, a Milwaukee County Stadium record crowd of 55,592 saw the Packers beat the Vikings, 20–19. The Packers' final game in Milwaukee was a 21–17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on December 18, 1994; with 14 seconds left, the winning 9-yard touchdown run was scored by quarterback Brett Favre. Despite no longer playing games in the city, the Packers flagship newspaper and radio have remained the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Milwaukee-based WTMJ-AM, respectively.
The Packers hosted one NFL playoff game at Milwaukee County Stadium, in 1967, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 28–7 in the Western Conference championship game. It was the first year that the NFL playoffs expanded to a four teams, and Green Bay had home field advantage for both rounds, then awarded by rotation. Each subsequent playoff game has been played at Lambeau Field.
Following the unsuccessful effort to lure the Packers to Milwaukee full-time, in 1965 city officials tried to lure an American Football League expansion team to play at Milwaukee County Stadium, but Packers head coach Vince Lombardi invoked the team's exclusive lease as well as sign an extension to keep some home games in Milwaukee through 1976. Nonetheless, city officials still pursued an AFL franchise, possibly to play at Marquette Stadium, but the AFL–NFL merger effectively quashed any chances of Milwaukee landing its own team.
Milwaukee County Stadium was built primarily for baseball, creating issues for football games. The playing surface was just barely large enough to fit a football field, which ran parallel with the first base line. The south end zone extended onto the warning track in right field, while the north end zone extended into foul territory on the third-base side. Both teams occupied the east sideline on the outfield side, separated by a piece of tape, to give the majority of seats an unobstructed view. At its height, it seated less than 56,000 for football—just over the NFL's minimum seating capacity—and many seats had obstructed views or were far from the field. Over the years, upgrades and seat expansion primarily benefited Milwaukee's baseball teams.
|1933||October 1||New York Giants||L 7–10||Borchert Field||12,467|
|1934||September 30||New York Giants||W 13–9||State Fair Park||12,000|
|November 18||Chicago Cardinals||L 0–9||State Fair Park||3,000|
|1935||October 13||Chicago Cardinals||L 0–3||State Fair Park||13,000|
|October 20||Detroit Lions||W 13–9||State Fair Park||12,000|
|1936||October 4||Chicago Cardinals||W 24–0||State Fair Park||11,000|
|October 25||Pittsburgh Pirates||W 42–10||State Fair Park||10,000|
|1937||October 10||Chicago Cardinals||W 34–13||State Fair Park||16,181|
|November 14||Philadelphia Eagles||W 37–7||State Fair Park||13,340|
|1938||September 25||Chicago Cardinals||W 28–7||State Fair Park||18,000|
|October 16||Brooklyn Dodgers||W 35–7||State Fair Park||11,892|
|1939||October 8||Chicago Cardinals||W 27–20||State Fair Park||18,965|
|October 29||Washington Redskins||W 24–14||State Fair Park||24,308|
|December 10||New York Giants||W 27–0||State Fair Park||32,379|
|1940||September 29||Chicago Cardinals||W 31–6||State Fair Park||20,234|
|October 27||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24–3||State Fair Park||13,703|
|1941||September 21||Cleveland Rams||W 24–7||State Fair Park||18,463|
|October 5||Chicago Cardinals||W 14–13||State Fair Park||10,000|
|October 12||Brooklyn Dodgers||W 30–7||State Fair Park||15,621|
|1942||October 11||Detroit Lions||W 38–7||State Fair Park||19,500|
|December 6||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24–21||State Fair Park||5,138|
|1943||October 17||Washington Redskins||L 7–33||State Fair Park||23,058|
|November 14||Chicago Cardinals||W 14–7||State Fair Park||10,831|
|1944||September 17||Brooklyn Tigers||W 14–7||State Fair Park||12,994|
|October 1||Detroit Lions||W 27–6||State Fair Park||18,556|
|1945||October 7||Detroit Lions||W 57–21||State Fair Park||20,463|
|October 21||Boston Yanks||W 38–14||State Fair Park||20,846|
|1946||October 6||Los Angeles Rams||L 17–21||State Fair Park||27,049|
|October 27||Detroit Lions||W 10–7||State Fair Park||23,564|
|1947||October 5||Los Angeles Rams||W 17–14||State Fair Park||31,613|
|October 19||Washington Redskins||W 27–10||State Fair Park||28,572|
|November 2||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 17–18||State Fair Park||30,073|
|1948||October 10||Chicago Cardinals||L 7–17||State Fair Park||34,369|
|October 24||Washington Redskins||L 7–23||State Fair Park||13,433|
|November 21||New York Giants||L 3–49||State Fair Park||12,639|
|1949||October 16||Chicago Cardinals||L 17–39||State Fair Park||18,464|
|October 30||Detroit Lions||W 16–14||State Fair Park||10,855|
|November 20||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 7–30||State Fair Park||5,483|
|1950||September 24||Washington Redskins||W 35–21||State Fair Park||14,109|
|November 12||Los Angeles Rams||L 14–45||State Fair Park||13,196|
|1951||October 7||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 35–33||State Fair Park||8,324|
|October 21||Los Angeles Rams||L 0–28||State Fair Park||21,393|
|1952||October 5||Washington Redskins||W 35–20||Marquette Stadium||9,657|
|October 12||Los Angeles Rams||L 28–30||Marquette Stadium||21,693|
|November 2||Philadelphia Eagles||W 12–10||Marquette Stadium||10,149|
|1953||September 27||Cleveland Browns||L 0–27||Milwaukee County Stadium||22,604|
|October 11||Los Angeles Rams||L 20–38||Milwaukee County Stadium||23,353|
|November 22||San Francisco 49ers||L 7–37||Milwaukee County Stadium||16,378|
|1954||October 4||San Francisco 49ers||L 17–23||Milwaukee County Stadium||15,571|
|October 17||Los Angeles Rams||W 35–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||17,455|
|November 13||Baltimore Colts||W 24–13||Milwaukee County Stadium||19,786|
|1955||October 8||Baltimore Colts||L 20–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||40,199|
|November 20||San Francisco 49ers||W 27–21||Milwaukee County Stadium||19,099|
|1956||October 14||Baltimore Colts||W 38–33||Milwaukee County Stadium||24,214|
|October 21||Los Angeles Rams||W 42–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||24,200|
|November 4||Cleveland Browns||L 7–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||28,590|
|1957||October 13||Baltimore Colts||L 17–45||Milwaukee County Stadium||26,322|
|October 20||San Francisco 49ers||L 14–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||18,919|
|November 17||Los Angeles Rams||L 27–31||Milwaukee County Stadium||19,540|
|1958||November 23||San Francisco 49ers||L 12–33||Milwaukee County Stadium||19,786|
|1959||October 18||Los Angeles Rams||L 6–45||Milwaukee County Stadium||36,194|
|November 15||Baltimore Colts||L 24–28||Milwaukee County Stadium||25,521|
|1960||October 23||San Francisco 49ers||W 41–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||39,914|
|November 20||Los Angeles Rams||L 31–33||Milwaukee County Stadium||35,763|
|1961||September 17||Detroit Lions||L 13–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||44,307|
|October 29||Minnesota Vikings||W 28–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||44,112|
|December 3||New York Giants||W 20–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,012|
|1962||September 23||St. Louis Cardinals||W 17–0||Milwaukee County Stadium||44,885|
|October 21||San Francisco 49ers||W 31–13||Milwaukee County Stadium||46,010|
|December 2||Los Angeles Rams||W 41–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||46,833|
|1963||September 22||Detroit Lions||W 31–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||45,912|
|November 3||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 33–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||46,293|
|1964||October 11||San Francisco 49ers||W 24–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,380|
|October 25||Los Angeles Rams||L 17–27||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,617|
|November 22||Cleveland Browns||W 28–21||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,065|
|1965||September 26||Baltimore Colts||W 20–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,130|
|October 24||Dallas Cowboys||W 13–3||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,311|
|November 14||Los Angeles Rams||W 6–3||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,485|
|1966||September 10||Baltimore Colts||W 24–3||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,650|
|October 23||Atlanta Falcons||W 56–3||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,623|
|December 4||San Francisco 49ers||W 20–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,725|
|1967||October 1||Atlanta Falcons||W 23–0||Milwaukee County Stadium||49,467|
|October 15||Minnesota Vikings||L 7–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||49,601|
|November 12||Cleveland Browns||W 55–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||50,074|
|December 23||Los Angeles Rams||W 28–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||49,861|
|1968||September 22||Minnesota Vikings||L 13–26||Milwaukee County Stadium||49,346|
|October 13||Los Angeles Rams||L 14–16||Milwaukee County Stadium||49,646|
|November 17||New Orleans Saints||W 29–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||49,644|
|1969||September 28||San Francisco 49ers||W 14–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,184|
|November 16||Minnesota Vikings||L 7–9||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,321|
|November 30||New York Giants||W 20–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,156|
|1970||October 4||Minnesota Vikings||W 13–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,967|
|October 25||Philadelphia Eagles||W 30–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,022|
|November 9||Baltimore Colts||L 10–13||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,063|
|1971||September 26||Denver Broncos||W 34–13||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,957|
|November 1||Detroit Lions||T 14–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,961|
|November 28||New Orleans Saints||L 21–29||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,035|
|1972||October 1||Dallas Cowboys||W 16–13||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,103|
|October 22||Atlanta Falcons||L 10–9||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,967|
|November 5||San Francisco 49ers||W 34–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,897|
|1973||September 17||New York Jets||W 23–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,124|
|December 2||New Orleans Saints||W 30–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||46,092|
|1974||September 29||Detroit Lions||W 21–19||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,292|
|October 13||Los Angeles Rams||W 17–6||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,499|
|November 10||Chicago Bears||W 20–3||Milwaukee County Stadium||46,567|
|1975||September 21||Detroit Lions||L 16–30||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,613|
|October 26||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 13–16||Milwaukee County Stadium]||52,815|
|November 23||New York Giants||W 40–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||50,150|
|1976||October 10||Seattle Seahawks||W 27–20||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,983|
|November 7||New Orleans Saints||W 32–27||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,936|
|November 21||Minnesota Vikings||L 10–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,104|
|1977||October 9||Cincinnati Bengals||L 7–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,653|
|November 13||Los Angeles Rams||L 6–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,948|
|December 18||San Francisco 49ers||W 16–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||44,902|
|1978||September 10||New Orleans Saints||W 28–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,336|
|October 1||Detroit Lions||W 35–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,601|
|October 15||Seattle Seahawks||W 45–28||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,712|
|November 12||Dallas Cowboys||L 14–42||Milwaukee County Stadium||55,256|
|1979||September 9||New Orleans Saints||W 28–19||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,184|
|October 14||Detroit Lions||W 24–16||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,930|
|November 11||Minnesota Vikings||W 19–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,706|
|1980||September 14||Detroit Lions||L 7–29||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,099|
|September 28||Dallas Cowboys||L 7–28||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,776|
|November 9||San Francisco 49ers||W 23–16||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,475|
|November 30||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 17–20||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,225|
|1981||September 27||Minnesota Vikings||L 13–30||Milwaukee County Stadium||55,012|
|October 18||San Francisco 49ers||L 3–13||Milwaukee County Stadium||50,171|
|November 8||New York Giants||W 26–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,138|
|1982||September 12||Los Angeles Rams||W 35–23||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,694|
|November 21||Minnesota Vikings||W 26–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||44,681|
|December 5||Buffalo Bills||W 33–21||Milwaukee County Stadium||46,655|
|1983||September 18||Los Angeles Rams||W 27–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,037|
|November 6||Cleveland Browns||W 35–21||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,089|
|November 20||Detroit Lions||L 20–23 (OT)||Milwaukee County Stadium||50,050|
|1984||October 21||Seattle Seahawks||L 24–30||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,286|
|November 11||Minnesota Vikings||W 45–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,931|
|November 18||Los Angeles Rams||W 31–6||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,031|
|1985||September 22||New York Jets||L 3–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,667|
|October 13||Minnesota Vikings||W 20–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,674|
|November 17||New Orleans Saints||W 38–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,104|
|1986||October 5||Cincinnati Bengals||L 28–34||Milwaukee County Stadium||51,230|
|October 26||San Francisco 49ers||L 17–31||Milwaukee County Stadium||50,557|
|November 16||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 31–7||Milwaukee County Stadium||48,271|
|1987||September 20||Denver Broncos||T 17–17 (OT)||Milwaukee County Stadium||50,624|
|November 1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 17–23||Milwaukee County Stadium||50,308|
|December 13||Minnesota Vikings||W 16–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||47,059|
|1988||October 9||New England Patriots||W 45–3||Milwaukee County Stadium||51,932|
|October 23||Washington Redskins||L 17–20||Milwaukee County Stadium||51,767|
|November 20||Detroit Lions||L 9–19||Milwaukee County Stadium||44,327|
|1989||October 1||Atlanta Falcons||W 23–21||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,647|
|October 29||Detroit Lions||W 23–20 (OT)||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,731|
|November 26||Minnesota Vikings||W 20–19||Milwaukee County Stadium||55,592|
|1990||October 28||Minnesota Vikings||W 24–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||55,125|
|November 25||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 20–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,677|
|December 9||Seattle Seahawks||L 14–20||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,015|
|1991||October 6||Dallas Cowboys||L 17–20||Milwaukee County Stadium||53,695|
|November 10||Buffalo Bills||L 24–34||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,175|
|November 24||Indianapolis Colts||W 14–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||42,132|
|1992||November 15||Philadelphia Eagles||W 27–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,689|
|November 29||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 19–14||Milwaukee County Stadium||52,347|
|December 6||Detroit Lions||W 38–10||Milwaukee County Stadium||49,469|
|1993||September 5||Los Angeles Rams||W 36–6||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,648|
|November 21||Detroit Lions||W 26–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||55,119|
|December 9||Minnesota Vikings||L 21–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,773|
|1994||September 11||Miami Dolphins||L 14–24||Milwaukee County Stadium||55,011|
|November 6||Detroit Lions||W 38–30||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,995|
|December 18||Atlanta Falcons||W 21–17||Milwaukee County Stadium||54,885|
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