Searching for a home, Canizaro considered moving to Sacramento and Columbus, and even weighed merging with the Birmingham Stallions. However, he was particularly intrigued when he visited Portland. It was a fairly large market with a reasonably adequate facility by USFL standards in 32,000 seat Civic Stadium (the stadium capacity has since been reduced). The move to Portland was announced on November 13, 1984. It marked a return home of sorts for Coury, who had led the World Football League’s Portland Storm in 1974. Initially, Portland seemed to welcome the Breakers with open arms. The Breakers sold out 6,000 of its highest-priced tickets within 12 hours.
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, they had only drawn 19,919 per game, nowhere near enough to break even. After talks to merge with other teams failed, Canizaro folded the franchise while the USFL’s antitrust suit against the NFL was underway, 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 (whose owners opposed moving to the fall) 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.
The Portland Breakers were an American football team that played in the original United States Football League (USFL) in the mid-1980s.
Boston – New Orleans – Portland
1983 – 1986 / United States Football League
1985 / Portland Breakers
1984 / New Orleans Breakers
1983 / Boston Breakers
Breakers – The Breakers nickname is a carry over name that originated in Boston and then traveled to New Orleans which means a heavy sea wave that breaks into white foam on the shore.
Original USFL Team
Final USFL Team
Team’s Final Outlook
The Breakers were one of nine teams slated to play in the USFL’s first fall season. However, the USFL’s antitrust suit against the NFL was underway, Canizaro folded the franchise, citing over $17 million in losses over three years.
USFL Championship 0
1985 / Civic Stadium
1984 / Louisiana Superdome
1983 / Nickerson Field
1985 / Joseph Canizaro
1984 / Joseph Canizaro and Randy Vataha
1983 / George Matthews and Randy Vataha
1983 – 1985 / Dick Coury (25 wins – 29 losses)
Averaged 19,919 fans (32,500 seat stadium)
*Blue is this team’s history