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Portland Breakers (USFL)

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  • Marcus Dupree
    L. Dupree (born May 22, 1964) is a former American football player. He was born and grew up in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where his playing in high school attracted national attention. A highly touted ...

The Portland Breakers were an American football team that played in the original United States Football League (USFL) in the mid-1980s. Before moving to Portland, Oregon, the franchise was previously in Boston, Massachusetts as the Boston Breakers and New Orleans, Louisiana as the New Orleans Breakers.

Boston and New Orleans

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Portland Breakers

Searching for a home, Joe Canizaro was particularly intrigued when he visited Portland. It was a fairly large market with a reasonably adequate facility by USFL standards in 20,323 seat Civic Stadium. The move to Portland was announced on November 13, 1984. The team drew an average of 19,919 per game in Portland.

On the field the team struggled, as the strain of playing in three cities in three years finally caught up with them. The team opted to go with former Jacksonville starter Matt Robinson as Walton's replacement, rather than seeking a more proven USFL QB without a home, like Craig Penrose, Alan Risher, or Mike Hohensee, or trading for someone like Oakland's Fred Besana, or even signing an NFL vet. Robinson ultimately proved to not be an adequate replacement for Walton, finishing with a 62.6 QB rating. HB Jordan did have another strong year with over 800 yards as did Lockett.

The Breakers were one of nine teams slated to play in the USFL's first fall season, and were slated to be one of only two teams west of the Mississippi River. However, while the USFL's antitrust suit against the NFL was underway, Canizaro folded the franchise, citing over $17 million in losses over three years. Canizaro was the only league owner who moved his team twice and both moves were tremendous distances. There was some discussion of transplanting the Denver Gold organization to Portland, but this idea was ultimately abandoned as the Gold instead merged with the Jacksonville Bulls. The entire league suspended operations not long afterward after it was awarded only $3 in damages.

The Breakers had the distinction of being the only team to play for the entire duration of the USFL for three different cities, each season in a different city without relocating mid-season. Unlike many USFL teams, the Breakers never changed their name, logo or colors when they relocated.