1922: Founded by a pair of Chicago Sports Promoters Joe Plunkett and Ambrose McGuirk, the Milwaukee Badgers were one of four new teams joining the newly renamed National Football League. Plunkett and McGuirk wanted to make the Badgers contenders right away and scouted teams on the East Coast hoping to fill the roster with All-Americans and All-Stars. The Badgers would be successful in signing Fritz Pollard away from the Akron Pros. Pollard would be one of three African Americans on the Badgers, joining Duke Slater, and Paul Roberson, who would become a world renowned actor. The Badgers would play their first game on October 1st losing to the Chicago Cardinals 3-0. Following a 12-12 tie against the Toledo Maroons, the Badgers would host the Racine Legion in their first home game at Athletic Park, earning their first win 20-0. Following back to back scoreless ties against the Green Bay Packers and Hammond Pros, the Badgers would get a second win, beating the Oorang Indians 13-0. It would be the Badgers final win, as they became beset by injuries and finished the season at 2-4-3, dropping their final three games.
1923: The Badgers would be much more competitive in their second season, which stated with a 13-2 win over the Oorang Indians. Following ties against the Columbus Tigers and Racine Legion, the Badgers would suffer a 12-0 shutout loss to the Green Bay Packers. The loss would be one of two both to the Packers that the Badgers would suffer all season as they reached the upper tier of the NFL, finishing in third place tie with the Packers with a record 7-2-3. Both losses to the Packers would hurt the Badgers more off the field as it helped make the small-town Packers the most popular team in Wisconsin. Despite three shutouts during the season, the Badgers were one of the highest scoring teams in the league as they ranked fifth with 100 points.
1924: The Badgers third season would bring more struggles in Milwaukee as they were losing attendance to local semiprofessional industrial teams. Early in the season the Badgers played well winning four of their first seven games. However, the Badgers continued to be frustrated by the Green Bay Packers, again losing both game to the state’s more popular team. The good start would also not last as the Badgers slumped the last half of the season posting a record of 5-8 as they lost five of their last six games.
1925: The bottom would fall out for the Badgers, as they lost all six scheduled games, while being outscored 132-7. The Badgers even suffered a humiliating loss to the Toronto Tigers in an exhibition game. To help with finances the Badgers played all but one game on the road, again losing to their nemesis the Green Bay Packers 6-0. Following the November 22nd loss to the Rock Island Independents the Badgers season was over and their players went their separate ways to their off-season jobs. However, the Chicago Cardinals seeking to steal the NFL Championship from the Pottsville Maroons scheduled a game against the Badgers on December 10th. In an era when teams made their own schedule games would often pop on the NFL calendar. The Cardinals were seeking to sneak in a few wins, as Pottsville was playing an exhibition game against Notre Dame All-Stars in Philadelphia. Many of the Badgers players were not available for the suddenly important game, a fact the Cardinals were aware of as they sought to play the weakest opponents possible. Cardinals Fullback Art Foltz would recruit players for the Badgers at his Alma Matter Englewood High School in Chicago. Foltz told the players that the game was a “practice game” and would in no part affect their amateur status. The Cardinals would easily beat the Milwaukee Badgers 59-0 and lay claim to their first NFL Championship. When NFL President Joseph Carr found out that High School players were used he threatened to have the game stricken from the record, but never followed through. The Cardinals and Badgers would both receive fines, though the Cardinals fine was later rescinded. Art Foltz would get banned from the NFL, as Badgers Owner, Ambrose McGuirk, was ordered to sell his franchise within 90 days as the Badgers finished the year with a record of 0-6.
1926: Control of the Milwaukee Badgers would be turned over to Player-Coach Johnny Bryan, who had helped restore some hope in Milwaukee as the Badgers split their first four games. However, they would drop their final five games, including a pair of shutouts to the Green Bay Packers, posting a record of 2-7. The Badgers would end the season with a 10-7 loss on the road against the Chicago Bears on November 14th. It would be the final game ever played by the Milwaukee Badgers, as they folded due to a lack of money. The Badgers quite never could handle the Green Bay Packers, with only a scoreless tie in their first meeting followed by nine losses. The Packers, who became one of the NFL’s most successful franchises and the sole survivor of the small town era would later claim Milwaukee as their own territory playing a three or four regular season games there from 1931-1994, including the 1939 NFL Championship Game and a 1967 Playoff Game.
©MMXV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Milwaukee Badgers or the NFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on February 11, 2015. Last updated on February 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.