If there’s one Donald Trump-related theme that probably emerges from, “Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL,” it’s probably this: For a guy who loathes the NFL, our president sure wanted in.
In no particular order, Trump made efforts to buy the Baltimore Colts, the Dallas Cowboys, the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots. In some cases, he went full-throttle. In other cases, he half assed it. His most concerted attempt to join the league came in the mid-1980s, when—as owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals—he made concerted (and repeated) attempts to enter the NFL.
Among other things, Trump …
• Arranged a secret meeting with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, in which he all but begged for an NFL franchise, assuring the powerful football exec that the USFL meant nothing and was utterly disposable.
• Convinced his fellow USFL owners that he had already been told by network executives that an amazing TV deal was waiting for them in the fall.
• Hired Roy Cohn, the infamous attorney, the lead the USFL’s lawsuit against the NFL. Trump promised the other owners the NFL would shudder in fear, then immediately seek a settlement. This did not happen.
Ultimately, it was all about Trump winding up in the NFL, and the NFL wanting nothing to do with a perceived conman. Hell, even the whole kneeling outrage thing is preposterous. Trump regularly did business during the national anthems at USFL games.
It’s purely preposterous.