As training camps begin to start across the NFL, there is a notable aspect that is still missing: The Cheese League. The name was given to a circuit of NFL teams in the 1990s that came to Wisconsin during the preseason to train. The name stemmed from the fact that Wisconsin has a long history of dairy and cheese production and this unofficial Cheese League had as many as five teams according to USA today (six if you count the outskirts of Minnesota).

Just how important was it?

For Wisconsin the Cheese League was huge. Sports writers across the nation were forced to talk about Wisconsin as a training camp destination for entire preseasons.

The chatter often was able to boost tourism to Wisconsin tremendously, helping both their economy and overall notability.

Some teams even found themselves falling in love with parts of Wisconsin. The longstanding rivals to the Packers, the Chicago Bears, were amazingly a major part of the Cheese League from the 80's to the new millennium. They found a home in Platteville, Wisconsin and their fans flocked their during the preseason, boosting the small town's economy according to Fox Sports. Even to this day there are murals in the town featuring the Bears; showing just how much the Bears appreciated this small town in a rival state.

The popularity of the Cheese League even helped the Packers fans as the popular Cheese hats that Packers wear really began to pick up in the late 80's as novelties.

This of course helped give Packers fans their iconic image, thus popularizing the franchise while helping to give the fan base some silly culture.

The fall of the league

The Packers obviously had the deepest roots in Wisconsin during this time but the unofficial league really fell apart during the late 90's, early 2000's. According to USA Today, some of the main teams that had their preseasons in Wisconsin, like the Bears, Saints and Chiefs, were splintering out of the league with plans to stop training in the state.

The Cheese League was fading mostly for motivations related to money. Franchises wanted their teams closer to the ticket buying bases of their fans. So it all came down to ticket sales, and as ticket sales for respective franchises went up, the Cheese League fell.

By the early 2000's only four teams were training in Wisconsin, with several planning to no longer return.

The Cheese League, for the time it existed, really increased intensity and perhaps interest in the NFL preseason. Yet, currently the unofficial league is no more than a distant memory that is awakened but not resurrected every summer in early August.